West LRT Line $35 million over budget

Calgary’s city council has learned that the West LRT, 30 on the Top 100 list, is currently $35 million over budget and that figure is expected to climb. The projected cost of the project was $1 billion, but the revised cost is expected to be closer to $1.3 billion.

Primarily, the cost overruns are being associated with land remediation, extensions to soundwalls, pathways connections and landscaping. However, what is not clear is whether these costs were originally planned for and are the result of poor management, or if the additional expenditures are the result of new items that have been added onto the project.

Alderman Brian Pincott is upset because one cost was not included in the original budget at all. The City of Calgary has a standing policy that one per cent of an infrastructure project’s cost must be directed to procuring art for the asset. Under this policy about $8.6 million should have been allocated for purchasing art for LRT stations. However, this cost was apparently not included in the original budget and has currently not been included in the revised cost of the project.

The West LRT line is undergoing testing right now and is expected to open early in 2013. The tests included running LRT vehicles along the lines and testing the supporting infrastructure, such as crossing arms and signalling systems.


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