North LRT to NAIT

rail tunnelling project has achieved a significant milestone in Alberta as tunnelling crews working on the North Light Rail Transit (NLRT) to Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) construction project have broken through the wall at Churchill station, connecting the North LRT with Edmonton’s existing network.

The governments of Canada, Alberta and the City of Edmonton announced the achievement of the milestone late last week.

Describing the milestone achievement as ‘a great day for Edmonton’ City Mayor Stephen Mandel, says the tunnelling project is an integral part of the City’s goal to develop sustainable and affordable transportation.

“Today we are one big step closer to that goal” Mandel said.

As the first part of a planned light rail transit (LRT) expansion to Edmonton city limits near St. Albert, and also as part of the City’s Transportation Master Plan vision to expand LRT service to all sectors of the city by 2040, the $755 million North LRT to NIIT project is a 3.3 kilometre extension from Churchill LRT station in downtown Edmonton northwest to NAIT – with the first 700 metres travelling underground (see map).

North LRT to NAIT map

It involves three new LRT Stations at Grant MacEwan University, Royal Alexandra Hospital, and NAIT; direct underground connection between MacEwan Station and Churchill Station; street-level LRT between 105th Ave and NAIT; overhead pedestrian walkways above 105th Ave at MacEwan Station; relocation of Kingsway bus terminal to Royal Alexandra Hospital and a new multi-use trail which connects all new stations.

North LRT to NAITOnce complete, the city expects to add 13,200 commuters on the LRT network each day and provide nine minute travel time from Churchill Station to NAIT.

Track work is expected to finish by the end of next year, with the grand opening of the project set for April 2014.

In addition to the tunnel completion, this year’s work included construction of all surface track for the North LRT and foundation work for the Grant McEwan, Kingsway/Royal Alex and NAIT LRT stations. Development of the stations will continue over winter.

By Andrew Heaton