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Calgary Green Line LRT gets updated alignment, less tunnel

Calgary will move ahead with a similar Green Line alignment to the one originally put forward, albeit with a shorter length of tunnel in the downtown thereby mitigating the escalating costs.

After nearly eight hours behind closed doors for a Green Line workshop, councillors emerged with an altered alignment for the $5 billion project.

“This project is a once in a many lifetimes opportunity,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi as he opened on council floor after the workshop.

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“It’s going to immeasurably change the lives of about a half a million people.”

Here’s a breakdown of the major alignment changes:

  • A surface alignment on Centre Street N and a surface station at 16 Avenue N
  • A bridge over the Bow River
  • A surface station at 2 Avenue S.W. in Eau Claire
  • 7 Avenue underground station
  • An underground alignment on 11 Avenue in the Beltline and an underground station at 4 Street S.E.
  • 21 kilometres of BRT enhancements
Yellow is the old line alignment and the Green is the new line alignment. CITY OF CALGARY

As mentioned, the primary difference is the amount of the Stage 1 line that will require a tunnel, which city administration has said on several occasions is where the major costs lie.

Coun. Farrell: ‘I am looking forward to more detail.’

Coun. Druh Farrell said she found Tuesday’s workshop helpful. She said she had major concerns about some of the details coming into the day.

“Some of them are deal breakers, and they continue to be. I feel somewhat comforted by the discussion that we had and that my concerns are shared by some of my colleagues,” Farrell said.

“However, I am looking forward to more detail.”

Coun. Ward Sutherland said this is a scaled down version and they’ve justified the pros and cons.

“It’s very important as we come to the end that we’re able to have a finished package with the proper due diligence that we could offer to the other orders of government,” he said.

Sutherland did warn that there would still be details on the project’s finer points that councillors wouldn’t agree on.

“Ultimately, as you know, no matter what, cost is cost. And it has to be within the cost,” he said.

“There’s going to be tradeoffs and not all of us will agree with those.”

Calgarians will be able to start logging their feedback through the city’s engagement portal beginning Jan. 29.

The city hopes to have a final recommendation to put forward by the end of March.