As Edmonton continues to grow and expand, so do its transportation lines. The current LRT (Light Rail Transit) lines run south from Century Park to the North end of the city in Clareview, with an interchangeable line to NAIT Campus. The new Valley Line LRT is a two-year project that will connect Millwoods (southeast Edmonton) to Edmonton’s downtown core and set the stage for the subsequent extension westward to Lewis Farms (west Edmonton). The City of Edmonton’s vision is to continue to create alternate and more sustainable modes of transportation that serve and support a green community.
Williams Engineering (WE) was brought onto the team to provide the mechanical construction administration for the stops and utility complexes along the lines from 102 Street to Millwoods Town Centre. Services provided by the team specifically include providing site installation reviews and addressing field change directives (FCD), noncompliance reports (NCR), requests for information (RFI), and the review of shop drawings. This project is exclusive to the mechanical team, who are the engineers of record for the mechanical systems for the construction phase. The WE mechanical team will continue to conduct site visits, review the construction process, support the builders through cost and schedule improvement revisions, and ensure the building is being built to design until the projected completion date in 2021.
Two key technical challenges of the project are the Churchill stop and Davies transit centre. On the Valley Line, all stops are at surface except for the Davies Transit Centre. The Churchill Connector and Utility Complex is a multi-purpose structure that houses extensive utility and control equipment while also providing connectivity for transit riders between the new on-grade valley line, the underground Churchill Station of the Capital Line, and the downtown pedway network. Integrating the two underground and one above-ground level of this facility into the dense fabric of urban infrastructure that exists on the southern edge of Churchill square has required very close and continuous coordination between all stakeholders. The construction of the Davies Transit Centre is a challenge because unlike the typical surface stops found along the Valley Line, this transit centre is elevated, and the LRT utilizes an elevated guideway to reach the station. The WE mechanical team is helping to overcome the constructability challenges that arise every day by remaining engaged with our construction and engineering partners on-site and by carefully adapting the original design drawings and models to the project realities. Most importantly, there continues to be an open channel of communication with the team to be proactive with our efforts so that the solutions can have a positive impact on the overall project budget and schedule.
Visualizing stops as buildings and observing rail alignment, rail elevation, and working with transportation designers was a unique experience for WE. Collaborating with the large construction team and all of the other engineering disciplines required our staff to engage with multiple project management software platforms, which supported and facilitated the execution of our joint efforts with greater efficiency.
WE continues to engage and contribute to the city’s innovation and sustainability goals and objectives. We are committed to engineering sustainable solutions that enhance the cities and communities that we serve.