News / Edmonton

Construction on Edmonton's river valley funicular starting next week

River valley project will improve access and connectivity.

The funicular will travel about 25 metres down the slope when complete.

Supplied/City of Edmonton

The funicular will travel about 25 metres down the slope when complete.

Construction on the river valley’s mechanized access is set to begin next Monday, starting with the clearing of shrubs and trees and the setup of a platform beside Hotel MacDonald.

“We’re really excited about getting to this phase. It’s been a long time getting here in terms of … getting all the approvals we needed,” said Rob Marchak, director of strategic projects with the city.

The $24-million Mechanized River Valley Access project — funded by the River Valley Alliance — was approved last June, but only received approval on its environmental impact study and the first phase of construction in recent weeks.

It includes a funicular to carry passengers down the slope, an outdoor elevator that connects to the river valley trail system, and a pedestrian bridge over Grierson Hill Road featuring several lookout points.

Marchak said the project will connect people in the downtown core to the river valley, and improve accessibility.
 
“The mechanized access … will allow people of all abilities to get into and out of the river valley easily, whether it’s a mom with a stroller, someone with a bike and trailer, or someone who uses a wheelchair or walker.”

He added that he expects the project to draw more tourists and visitors — particularly those staying at nearby hotels — into the valley.

Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2017.