A brief look back at how the Green Line came to be and where it is headed. We encourage people to view the most up-to-date Green Line information via the City of Calgary’s official website:
Green Line Past:
- The Green Line started as two separate projects, the South East LRT and the North Central LRT. Both projects had been proposed in recognition of the fact that the two regions of Calgary that were destined to see the greatest amount of population growth did not have access to the existing LRT network.
- The routing for the South East LRT had been set to run from the city’s south east region to Eau Claire market in Calgary’s downtown core. The routing for the North Central LRT had been set to run from the north along Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail corridor before linking up with the existing north east ‘Blue’ line to head into the downtown core.
- In 2011 a decision was made to re-examine the routing for the North Central LRT and the possibility was raised that the North Central and South East LRTs could be joined into one continuous line.
- Four possible options were studied for the North Central LRT…. the Nose Creek alignment which had been previously proposed, Edmonton Trail, Centre Street and 4th Street NW. In 2014 a decision was made to change the alignment to Centre Street and to link the North Central LRT with the South East LRT at the Eau Claire station to form one continuous line.
- In 2013, Calgary City Council had committed $52 million over ten years towards the South East LRT project. The decision was made to use a portion of the funds to continue design work on what would eventually become the Green Line while also beginning construction on a bus rapid transitway to south east Calgary (The SETWAY) that could be used as an interim solution. With the announcement of $1.53 billion in funding from the Government of Canada in the spring of 2015 followed by Calgary City Council’s extension of the $52 million in annual funding to thirty years, this interim step was dropped in favour of moving towards securing more funding that would allow for construction of LRT from day 1.
- With the Centre Street alignment determined, the focus of the City of Calgary then turned to how the north and south portions of the Green Line would link through the downtown core. The Green Line North station at 16th Ave N and Centre Street and the Green Line South East station at 4th Street SE along the CPR tracks were used as anchor points and a variety of options were studied. These options included surface running tracks, elevated tracks as well as tunnelling the entire segment or portions there-of. Several options were also considered for how far south the Green Line would reach into Calgary’s ‘Beltline’ neighbourhood. In the end, a fully tunnelled option with a route that would travel as far south as 12th Ave S in the Beltline was the favoured option.
Green Line Present:
- In the spring of 2017 Calgary City Council approved the final routing of the Green Line as well as the initial staging plan. Stations that had initially been proposed for 72 Ave N and 9th Ave N were dropped from the final routing. Stage 1 would run from 16th Ave N through Calgary’s downtown and terminate at Shepard Station (approximately 130th Ave SE) which would also be home to the LRV storage and maintenance yard. Revised cost estimates were also announced that put the all in project cost for stage 1 at $4.56 billion.
- In July of 2017 the Government of Alberta announced a commitment of $1.53 billion over an 8 year period towards Green Line Stage 1. This funding announcement brought the total funding for Green Line up to $4.56 billion and will allow construction to begin on Green Line Stage 1.
- In spring of 2019 the City of Calgary announced that it had identified technical challenges with the Council approved centre city deep tunnel option. These technical challenges meant that Green Line Stage 1 would exceed the allocated budget envelope for the project as well as eliminate any tunnelling techniques that relied on the use of a tunnel boring machine. The City of Calgary launched a review of the centre city alignment (defined as the section between the Elbow River and 16th Ave N).
- The procurement process began for Green Line during the summer of 2019 with the project being split into three for contracting purposes. Green Line Stage 1 – Segment 1 would comprise all track work from Shepard to the Elbow River and include the LRV maintenance facility. Green Line Stage 1 – Segment 2 would comprise all track work from the Elbow River to 16th Ave N. And a third procurement contract would be issued for the LRVs. While refining further alignment options for Segment 2, the City of Calgary moved ahead with the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Segment 1 and LRV contracts with short lists being selected for the RFP process by the end of 2019. The Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the LRVs was due to be issued in May 2020 and the RFP for Segment 1 was due to be issued in July 2020.
Green Line Future:
- A final decision on Green Line Stage 1 – Segment 2 is expected to be made by Council no later than June 2020. Work will then begin on issuing the RFQ and RFP documents for Segment 2. Construction is expected to begin on Segment 1 in the spring of 2021. Opening day for the entire Green Line Stage 1 is expected to be late 2027.
- Staging options beyond stage 1 of Green Line have yet to be presented to Calgarians. The cost of future expansions is also unknown. Rest assured the LRT on the Green Foundation will continue to advocate for more funding and an accelerated construction timeline on remaining stages until the Green Line has been built from Keystone in the north to Seton in the south!