A rendering of Surrey’s planned LRT line. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Early LRT work begins in Surrey

Surrey launches ‘City LRT Project Team’

SURREY – While not all the money is in the bank, the City of Surrey is chugging ahead with preparation plans for its Light Rail Transit line.

According to a report to council Monday night, a total of $58 million has been allocated for Surrey LRT’s “Early Works in Phase One” of TransLink’s 10-year transit investment plans.

This phase includes a line from 104th Avenue connecting City Centre and Guildford, and another line connecting City Centre and Newton Town Centre via King George Boulevard.

Early works the city is undertaking for these lines include water main and storm sewer utility relocation on 104th Avenue, replacement of the Bear Creek Bridge on King George Boulevard near 88th Avenue, and the raising of BC Hydro transmission structures on 104th and King George.

The city is also working on a 104th Avenue land use study to “reinforce sustainable and attractive urban neighbourhoods” along the major artery, zeroing in on lands within 800 metres of the LRT corridor.

Other early works, that are being done by TransLink, include the planning and design of the Newton and Guildford LRT terminus complete with bus exchange improvements.

Meanwhile, the city is submitting a busines case to the BC Treasury Board in the fall to secure a provincial funding agreement.

According to city hall, the “early works” for phase one will be complete at the end of 2018 and will “streamline the procurement and construction schedule” of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line.

The city anticipates that a Request for Approval will be issued in the spring of 2018, that applicants will be shortlisted in mid-2018, and that construction would being in mid-2019.

Meanwhile, the city has created and staffed a “City LRT Project Team,” to deliver the project. The team will work with TransLink and a group of consultants over the next two years as the line is built.

It will be led by Scott Neuman, who will serve as project director, along with a combination of internal city staff and some from outside it.

The city expects all the roles within the LRT team to be filled by the end of July.

TransLink and the city’s team will be setting up a project office in the fall of this year, according to the report, which may be located near the Gateway SkyTrain station.

The city report noted public “re-engagement” regarding the Surrey-Newton-Guildford line took place in December 2016 and this past January, with an emphasis on city building and other elements of the LRT project. Further open houses are planned later this month.

According to the report to council, full funding of the Surrey LRT could materialize by the end of the year.

Both the federal and provincial governments have committed to pay for 40 per cent of the project.

The regional share to pay for the remaining dollars must be worked out by the Mayors’ Council.

All told, Surrey’s planned LRT line would be 27 kilometres long and delivered in two phases: phase one (Surrey-Newton-Guildford) to be completed within seven years and phase two (Surrey-Langley via Fraser Highway) in 12.

amy.reid@surreynowleader.com