Edmonton Gears Up for Highly Anticipated Valley Line Southeast LRT this Autumn

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Come autumn, Edmonton residents can look forward to the highly anticipated opening of the Valley Line Southeast Light Rail Transit (LRT), announces the company steering the project. However, they remain tight-lipped about the exact launch date.

In a recent Thursday morning press briefing, TransEd spokesman Dallas Lindskoog gave an enthusiastic assurance that the transit service is expected to commence in fall. The company has just wrapped up the replacement of cables across the 13km line, and train testing operations have picked up the pace.

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“Over the coming weeks, trains will operate along the entire 13km alignment, simulating regular passenger service patterns as conclusive proof to city officials and certifiers that the Valley Line Southeast LRT is ready for business,” Lindskoog provided an update on the preparation status.

Lindskoog clarified that the replacement of the cables, declared in June as necessary operations before the LRT’s grand opening, was not the reason for the project delay. While these replacements were underway, the company concurrently submitted documentation required for the independent certification of the line, which is expected to greenlight its opening to the public.

Elaborating on the next steps, Lindskoog revealed, “The auditors still need to observe train operations over a few weeks to round off their certification process. Once we have the certificate in hand, we’ll revert with more details about the launch date.”

In a written brief, city officials outlined the precarious nature of large-scale infrastructure projects, emphasizing the need for stringent oversight to manage operational hiccups, underscoring safety and system reliability as utmost priorities.

“We have a single shot at inaugurating the system correctly, and the city and TransEd are taking all necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and secure passenger service,” iterated Jyllian Park, city spokesperson.

The planned opening of the Valley Line Southeast LRT is the newest development in a series of long-standing delays. The original plan had pegged 2020 as the launch year, but an unexpected discovery of a large concrete mass under the Tawatinâ Bridge in the North Saskatchewan River delayed progress in 2018.

Covid-related absenteeism and supply chain disruptions also contributed to the postponement in 2021, shares TransEd. Adding more woes, 30 piers along the line were discovered to have fissures in the summer of 2022, repairs of which continued up until December.

Contractually, TransEd is liable for the fallout of the delays and will be assigned responsibility for operating and maintaining the line for the next 30 years. As testing resumes, Edmonton residents are being urged to exercise caution around the new line.

The company’s advisory reads, “As the Valley Line Southeast adopts a low-floor, urban-style transit model, it will not have warning bells and crossing gates, and trains will behave differently at intersections than the traditional LRT. Edmontonians are urged to respect traffic rules and pay heed to signage around the new line.”