Project planners behind the Green Line LRT have taken the rail rapid transit project one step closer to construction by further defining project, albeit half of the length of the route has been shaved and the project’s estimated construction cost has increased.
The City of Calgary has long outlined the project as a 40-km-long route running north to south at a cost of $4.5 billion, but a recent City staff report is recommending City council to proceed with a 20-km-long route running from the northeast to the mid-south at a cost of $4.6 billion.
Instead of building it all at once, the new transit route could be built incrementally in phases. The first phase will cost roughly $225 million per kilometre of track and will include 14 stations between 16 Avenue N and Shepard, with trains running every 10 minutes. The end-to-end travel time within this first phase route is 34 minutes.
“Building the core of the Green Line LRT is essential to supporting Calgary’s growth,” said Mac Logan, General Manager of Transportation for the City of Calgary, in a statement. “This staging recommendation is the right approach for Calgary, today and in the long-term. Stage 1 is ready for construction, demand for the line will only continue to grow, and with the economic downturn, this is the right time to invest in jobs and make this project a reality.”
One of the major factors for the increased cost in building the project revolves around the higher-than-expected cost for acquiring the land required for the ground-level sections of the track and stations.
“We have a unique opportunity now to apply for a significant amount of funding,” he added. “In building the most technically complex piece of the project first, we will be well positioned to expand the line in affordable, incremental pieces as more funding becomes available.”
It is envisioned that the first phase route will attract up to 65,000 passengers per day upon opening in 2026. Future phases will take the Green Line LRT further north and south.