📸 Taking shape: Valley Line Southeast update 2

Mother Nature kept Valley Line Southeast construction workers on their toes as they adapted to changing weather conditions earlier this summer. Despite the weather, the team made significant progress in key areas along the route that will carry passengers from Mill Woods to Downtown. 

Take a look at some of the scenes from July:

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We start downtown with some interesting things to notice at the intersection of 102 Avenue and 100 Street where the street is newly paved, the trackway is embedded and paving stone crosswalks are installed. The new look is based on the project’s Sustainable Urban Integration (SUI) guidelines and features new streetscaping and wider, more accessible sidewalks. The goal of SUI is to have LRT development complement and enhance the character of the local neighborhoods it will serve. 

One other thing to notice: the intersection is open! It opened on July 15, five days ahead of schedule. This meant traffic was again flowing smoothly and the K-Days Parade was able to run along its planned route.

The intersection was the second of three temporary intersection closures for Valley Line Southeast LRT work downtown.

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Here’s a ground level view of the Churchill Connector, the future access point for passengers connecting from the Valley Line to either the Metro or Capital Lines. The team has finished excavating nearly 13 m below the ground level and is now constructing the Connector back up to the surface. 

In the photo above, concrete is being poured and cured. Grey conduit tubes will house cables and wires for all of the systems in the Connector. The pedestrian entrance to the Connector will be in a new building at the southeast corner of Churchill Square.

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East of 97 Street on 102 Avenue sits a big trench for a big storage tank for a big reason: rain.

Edmonton’s recent rainfall is a reminder of the need for the unique tank. You don’t see it yet, and, when it’s built, you still won’t see it. The tank will be underground doing its quiet but vital work to prevent the LRT tunnel from flooding. Capable of holding 2,800 cubic metres of water, the tank will also benefit buildings near the tunnel, as rainwater will be redirected in and, then, transferred into Edmonton’s storm sewer system.

In the event of a 1-in-100 year storm, the storage tank will protect nearby basements and underground parking structures from potential flooding.

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The Valley Line Southeast’s cars—we call them Light Rail Vehicles, or LRVs—will travel through the new LRT tunnel into the river valley. 

In the northbound tunnel (top) the rebar has been formed to match the passageway’s circular shape. The rebar will help strengthen a concrete called shotcrete, which will be sprayed over the orange waterproofing membrane. The concrete track slab has already been poured in this section of tunnel.

In the southbound tunnel (bottom), concrete work is underway using a specialized formwork designed for the Valley Line project. As each segment of concrete sets, the formwork is dismantled and moved further along the tunnel.

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Across the river, near the bottom of the Connors Road Hill, the existing pedestrian bridge is being replaced. The new structure, named the Kȃhasinȋskȃk Pedestrian Bridge, will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the new LRT tracks and Connors Road, maintaining access to the river valley trail system. Soil anchors and concrete have been installed along the south abutment.

Kȃhasinȋskȃk is the Cree word for Stony Creek, which was the original name of Mill Creek.

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Continuing south on Connors Road, the extensive work on the south side of the road is beginning to approach its final state, as crews finish the retaining and noise walls. The new walls provide necessary support for the slope of the hill, which has been adjusted to accommodate the future location of the southbound traffic lanes. 

The LRT tracks will run along the north edge of the road. Work is being done to realign the previous traffic lanes a few metres south of their original position.

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Up the hill and heading east on 95 Avenue, sidewalks along the north side of the street have been poured and one lane of asphalt is paved. 

TransEd, the consortium contracted to design, build and operate the Valley Line Southeast, hosted a community block party on July 27 to launch the partial reopening of 95 Avenue, as traffic can now travel westbound on 95 Avenue between 85 Street and 87 Street. Work continues on the remainder of 95 Avenue, with significant progress being made.

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Following the alignment southbound on 85 Street towards Bonnie Doon Mall, the existing traffic circle is being converted to a four-way intersection. Concrete track slabs have been laid and are ready for the tracks. New concrete curbs pictured above are being poured and the roadway is visibly taking shape. 

Local residents will get to experience the new flow of this intersection before the LRT begins operating. Traffic signals and road signs will direct drivers, cyclists and pedestrians through the reconfigured intersection. You can see an animation of how traffic will flow on TransEd’s website.

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Further south, the last of the arches are in place at Davies Station. This stop, located in the Davies Industrial Area near 75 Street and Wagner Road, will feature a 1,300-stall park and ride and a beautiful view of Edmonton’s downtown. The station is raised off the ground. The elevated track will carry LRT passengers over the Canadian National Railway line below and deliver them from delays at freight train crossings.   

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This is the scene at the Grey Nuns Stop along the southern end of the Valley Line Southeast. Concrete track slabs and the raised curbs are poured. Overhead Catenary System poles—basically, the electrical wire system that powers the trains—are being installed. All of this is a sign that LRT infrastructure in this area is nearing its final state.

In fact, The Grey Nuns Stop will be the first stop along the alignment to be completed, giving Edmontonians who live and travel in that area a good first look at the shape of the future.

As the summer construction season rolls along the future route is beginning to look less like generic road construction and more like the final product—a community-integrated LRT line!

Thanks for reading. We’ll keep you up to speed on Valley Line Southeast progress with an update soon.

 

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