News / Calgary

Calgary's Green Line LRT to go underground

The underground alignment is the most expensive option but has more benefits according to administration

CTrains could go under the Bow River instead of above it to help the city free up space for future developments.

Jennifer Friesen/ for Metro

CTrains could go under the Bow River instead of above it to help the city free up space for future developments.

The Green Line isn't just going over pavement, grass and fields, it may also go underground.

The city isn't formally calling it the final alignment, but it's definitely administration's preference to take the Green Line under the Bow River to connect the downtown core with Centre Street North. According to staff, it's the best option despite the high price – a $500 million premium – as it keeps the core open to future development.

"It integrates better into the economic engine of Calgary, our downtown," said Green Line Centre City project manager, Jonathan Lea. "It preserves connections on the surface, for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists."

But picking this expensive option could put some other legs of the project in jeopardy.

The city has prioritized the Green Line and the core first, then the southeast leg and finally the northeast. Lea said updated cost estimates will be coming to City Hall in the summer.

"We hear often with the LRTs we have today: Why didn't you put it underground?" said Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating, who is also chair of the Transportation and Transit Committee.

"Through public engagement they've determined, so far, the tunnel underground all the way through  the core, past the river, is the best option."

Keating said costs at this point are very high level, and they will have to be nailed down once the project is finalized.

"It isn't building all of it and worrying about the costs later," Keating said. "You talk to the feds, you talk to the province, you talk to the city, and you say what's available, what can we do, and within that frame what can we get done."

He added costs could contribute to scaling back the project – which isn't ideal.

The city is still taking public input and feedback. They have set up an "interactive installation" at Olympic Plaza between April 18 to 28. A series of pop-up events have also been scheduled over the coming two weeks.

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