A vision for the future
The vision for the Green Line, developed with thousands of Calgarians, is a transit service that improves mobility in existing communities in north and southeast Calgary connecting people and places and enhancing the quality of life in the city. The City has not veered away from this vision, and is now more than ever committed to successfully delivering it.
“The Green Line is an important project for Calgary today and for the future,” said Michael Thompson, general manager, Transportation. “Stage one will be an economic stimulant creating nearly 12,000 direct jobs and over 8,000 supporting jobs, and will connect Calgarians to social and community services.”
The City’s top priority is to build stage one of the Green Line within our budget of $4.9 billion while maintaining our project vision. To do this and ensure we get the best value out of every dollar spent, The City needs more time to continue evaluating the Centre City portion, between 16 Ave. N and Ramsay, which could lead to changes in the project.
The technical team has advanced the design of the project and evaluated numerous construction risks. The more detailed the design advanced the more it became clear the full 4 km tunnel with four underground stations could not be delivered within the budget. For this reason, we are investigating how to shorten the tunnel and bring some stations to the surface.
The City still plans to build a tunnel downtown as part of Green Line stage 1, however reducing the length of tunnel and reducing the depth of the stations is necessary to make sure the project is delivered within budget. Putting the Green Line underground through the downtown core is critical for many reasons, including minimizing long term disruption to business, maintaining traffic movement for all modes of transportation across 4 Ave., 5 Ave. and 6 Ave. and the existing LRT and CP Rail operations.
“We considered many factors before deciding to continue evaluating the Centre City portion of the Green Line,” Michael said. “There are significant costs to building four underground stations and mitigating risks associated with building a tunnel. Being financially responsible with taxpayer dollars, especially in Calgary’s current economic time, is a top priority. As we developed the details for the stations we found that building the tunnel as we were originally planning would require the stations to be five to seven stories underground. We do not believe the depth of these stations would meet the vision for a low floor accessible transit service.”
One of the design concepts that we previously reviewed is a bridge over the Bow River, which reduces the length of the underground segment and reduces the depth of the underground stations. This could make the system more accessible for users and reduce the construction and operation costs.
Engagement opportunities through meetings with key stakeholders and information sessions with Calgarians to review in more detail the tradeoffs of being deep below the river and the downtown, versus being shallow through the downtown will be had over the coming months.