LRT line crossing the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton

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Addressing complex environmental requirements on tight timeline paves way for delivery of Edmonton’s Valley Line LRT

Edmonton’s new Valley Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project is the single largest infrastructure investment in the city’s history. Stage 1 of the Valley Line LRT is a 13 kilometre section of the city’s LRT system, from southeast Edmonton in Mill Woods to 102 Street downtown. The Valley Line LRT will use electrically-powered trains running on a low-floor, “urban” rail system that will generally run at street level, with bridges and elevated guideways through select areas. The Valley Line LRT is being delivered as a Public-Private Partnership (P3), with funding from the City of Edmonton, the provincial and federal governments, and a private partner. 

In 2014, Associated partnered with TransEd Partners, on the pursuit phase of the project. In addition to providing civil engineering services, we were responsible for all environmental aspects of the project. The environmental pursuit deliverables included a draft Environmental Management System, permitting strategy, environmental protection plans (e.g., draft Environmental Construction Operations Plan for the entire alignment), and restoration/reforestation plans.  Other environmental services included reviews of designs for compliance with environmental regulations and support for schedule planning related to permitting timelines. We provided critical, local environmental expertise to deliver a compliant pursuit submission. 

The city awarded the design and construction of the Valley Line LRT to TransEd Partners. Associated’s roles on the design-build project are detailed design of civil works and provision of environmental services. Associated’s Environmental Lead, Richard Simpson, tells us, “As the environmental team, we are currently completing various reports, such as environmental protection plans and reclamation plans.  We are also helping with obtaining environmental permits and conducting pre-disturbance and confirmatory soil sampling, turbidity monitoring, and fish surveys.“ Ongoing work includes reviewing designs for compliance with environmental regulatory requirements and providing planning and management support to TransEd. Environmental impacts were captured in the project’s Environmental Management System, in the Aspects Register, and includes greenhouse gas emissions associated with design and construction.

TransEd has relied on Associated’s knowledge of environmental requirements and regulations throughout the project.  Richard tells us, “We completed critical environmental deliverables, meeting tight timelines and schedule milestones, where cascading timelines may affect the overall project execution.”  Ongoing support in managing contamination, restoration activities, and permit compliance will continue for at least three years, throughout the ongoing design, planning, and construction.

Key members of our environmental team on the Valley Line LRT include Richard Simpson, Sarina Loots, April Strekies, Tom Fleming, Joel Gervais, Norm Di Perno, Charlie Bartlett, Kristen Anderson, Will Gluth, and Maria Thorlakson.

The LRT line is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin operation in 2020.