Following three years of construction and about $1.4B, the West LRT in Calgary is officially open for commuters to take the transit into the core.

The new line is just over eight kilometers long and runs from 69 St. S.W. into the downtown core.

The total trip takes about 12 minutes.

The city expects the line to see about 25,000 passengers a day at first and that number could reach about 40,000 passengers within a few years.

Dignitaries gathered in the city on Saturday morning for celebrations to mark the completion of the project.

Premier Alison Redford had high praise for the new LRT leg which was one of the city’s largest infrastructure projects, at a cost of $1.4 billion.

“The West LRT line is a shining example of our government’s commitment to connecting residents with the people and services important to them, and to supporting municipalities as they plan for the future,” says Redford. “Together, we are building better communities.”

“I want to especially thank the project team and all The City of Calgary employees and contractors who made this project happen,” says Nenshi. “It is the biggest public works project in our history and an amazing accomplishment.”

As part of Saturday’s celebration, the public was permitted to ride the new line for free between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. with free hot chocolate, fireworks and family entertainment at the stations.

The project was approved by council in 2007 and construction began in March 2010.