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Higher cost estimates could spur change for Calgary's Green Line LRT project


There are a number of design possibilities on the table for Calgary's Green Line because of the higher costs faced by the monumental infrastructure project.

The project's board says a key risk was observed when some of the sub-contractors came back with estimates that were higher than anticipated.

"The budget for this project was pre-COVID," said Green Line CEO Darshpreet Bhatti.

"And the market is very different. We're not the only project that is facing these challenges."

The details, from a quarterly report, will be presented to council on Tuesday, with much of the meeting taking place behind closed doors.

"If there are additional asks needed, this is something that we're obviously going to discuss with provincial and federal partners as well," said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

"These projects are very big and there are sometimes tweaks that need to be done. So again, I'm looking forward to the experts weighing in on what's happening."

Although the cost overruns are being kept secret, the board does promise to release the increased numbers in either May or June.

"I've been concerned about this project since Day 1," said Ward 1's Coun. Sonya Sharp.

"Everybody knows that costs are increasing on any project and a project of this magnitude is going to see, probably, added costs."

But she says it's not time to pull the plug.

"What would people think of the city if we just all of a sudden folded up and moved away?" she said.

"How would contractors ever want to work in a city like this again? So I think there's a more of a reputational risk here."

A citizens' committee group that wants to rethink the Green Line says it's not surprised by the expected added costs.

"We believe the real costs will be $8.5 (billion) to $10 billion," said member Steve Allan.

Allan says he would like to see the project focus on the south side of the city, to invite new commuters on the LRT from downtown to Seton, at the South Health Campus.

"It makes no sense for it to be running from Shepard to Eau Claire and tunnelling under downtown Calgary, which is full of water," he said. Top Stories

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