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Bechtel and Edmonton: how to make a smart light rail project work

Submitted by doug.peeples on May 4, 2016

The Edmonton Valley Line Light Rail Transit - Stage 1 project is one way the city of Edmonton, considered Canada's second fastest-growing city, plans to keep up with demand from a population expected to increase 50% by 2040.

Council Lead Partner Bechtel is a major player in TransEd Partners, a group that also includes Bombardier, EllisDon and Fengate Capital Management. TransEd Partners will be responsible for not only building the light rail transit (LRT) project, but also for operating and maintaining the first stage of the line for 35 years.

Bechtel is lead partner for the design and construction of the 8-mile project that will run from Mill Woods to downtown Edmonton. This project, the first stage of the line, will include 11 stops, an elevated station with a transit center and Park and Ride, and a transfer point to other existing lines.

A series of firsts
The project is not only the first for Bechtel's Public-Private Partnership (P3) business line, it's also the first public-private partnership for Edmonton and is the city's largest infrastructure project. "From the start of the project, Bechtel and TransEd Partners have enjoyed a very positive partnership with the City of Edmonton and the community. We are looking forward to delivering a safe, efficient and sustainable transit line that will support the creation of hundreds of local jobs during peak construction and help drive economic growth for the region," said Larry Melton, Bechtel design-build project director for TransEd Partners.

Extensive civic involvement
One good reason for the positive community attitude toward the project has to be citizen participation, through involvement from representatives of local civic groups. The City of Edmonton website said public involvement has been extensive from the beginning and will continue to be so throughout the project. Citizens were able to provide input on the LRT route and how it would fit into their neighborhoods. They also are being kept up to date on road closures, utility line relocation and the other aspects of major construction projects that affect communities.

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.