After almost a three-year delay, the long-awaited Valley Line Southeast LRT finally opened for passenger service on November 4, 2023. The completion of the project brings an end to a seemingly never-ending saga of delays. Let’s look back at the journey that brought us here.
The First Delay
The Valley Line Southeast was originally meant to be operational in December 2020. Unfortunately, the spring of 2018 brought the first delay in the form of a car-sized piece of concrete lodged in the North Saskatchewan river bank found during the construction of the Tawatinâ bridge. This piece of concrete held up bridge construction for more than two months.
The Second Delay
Three years later, in October 2021, the project was delayed again due to the train testing process taking longer than anticipated. Workforce shortages and supply chain issues for some construction supplies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were to blame. This second delay pushed the opening date to early 2022. Unfortunately, two months later in December 2021, the completion date was pushed back to late 2022.
The Third Delay
In August 2022, TransEd discovered a new problem in the concrete pillars that supported the elevated track portions. Thirty of the pillars had cracks and had to be reinforced with concrete and steel rods while the supported bridge structure required substantial structural work. These repairs set the project timeline back about three months, with repairs taking place into December.
The Final Delay
The final delay was more recent, taking place in June of this year when TransEd found oxidized signalling cablesduring train testing. This work lasted till September of this year, further disrupting the ongoing testing process. At this point, the trains still needed to be tested for a few more weeks to ensure the line’s safety, and the anticipated opening date was fall of 2023. A month later, TransEd and the City of Edmonton announced that the line would open for passenger service on November 4th.The new 13-kilometre line runs from Millwoods Transit Center to the 102nd Street stop downtown. A one-way trip of the entire line takes about 30 minutes. For now, during class hours, trains run every 10 minutes in both directions. Students can transfer at Churchill Station for a train to NAIT. Happy riding!
Cover photo by Mark Yong