Reaching target date for LRT expansion could be difficult: City
The city's transportation department is now admitting the 2017 deadline to wrap up the LRT expansion in Edmonton could be difficult to reach.
"That's an opportunity for us not to get caught in a situation where we have a target, we are moving along, we think we can do it, but something happens and suddenly in order to meet this artificial time we start spending more money on overtime and try to get things done for opening day," said the city's transportation general manager Bob Boutilier.
The LRT construction schedule is now up for debate after the city learned the federal government would not be supporting the city's bid to host Expo 2017.
And now that the Expo isn't happening, the transportation department believes they have more time to work on the expansion.
The department said all LRT expansion projects should be complete by 2019.
Some city councillors CTV News spoke to said this was the first they heard of any possible delay.
"I personally don't want to see us slow down," said City Coun. Ben Henderson.
Other changes are being proposed as well, which include the west and southeast routes. The plan now is to turn the Bonnie Doon traffic circle into an intersection to allow the LRT to flow through. And in the west-end, the original route turned onto Meadowlark and then onto 156 Street, but the new route bypasses Meadowlark Road.
Part of 156 Street would then become a one-way street and the firehall that currently faces that street may move.
The fire chief said this could mean an opportunity for Fire Rescue Services and the community to have a new facility.
The next step in the city's plan is to secure the funding for the $3.4-billion LRT expansion.
"There is no more looking at the routes, these are the routes, the issue now is let's build it, but we can stretch out how long it takes and we can also stretch out the financing for it," said Boutilier.
The transportation department will meet with federal officials next week to discuss the issue of funding. City officials said they need about $1 billion from Ottawa for the projects.
Residents will still be given the chance to discuss the routes. A public meeting on the southeast line is set for Thursday night at the MacEwan South Campus and two meetings will be held Monday and Tuesday on the west-end routes.
With files from Sonia Sunger