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December 20, 2017

Stop-work order placed on Edmonton’s Valley Line LRT tunnelling over safety concerns

TransEd officials hope a stop-work order placed on downtown LRT tunnelling work will be lifted soon, they said Monday.

All tunnelling has been at a standstill since Dec. 4 when provincial officials determined the site didn’t have proper shelter-in-place provisions to protect workers in the event of an emergency.

TransEd, which is constructing the Valley Line LRT from downtown to Mill Woods, failed to mention the issue in an update to reporters on construction progress last Wednesday.

It was a routine inspection that caught the deficiency.

“It wasn’t in response to any incident in the tunnel,” Dean Heuman, TransEd spokesman, said Monday.

TransEd submitted answers to all Occupational Health and Safety questions Dec. 11, but is still working with officials to find satisfactory solutions.

Last Wednesday, Heuman said the tunnel was advancing at a rate of one to 1.5 metres per day. On Monday, he said it’s made such good progress, the work freeze has not impacted overall construction timelines yet.

The lead tunnel is now about 305 metres long, or about three-quarters of the distance needed to break through into the river valley. It starts on 102 Avenue and runs under Jasper Avenue. The two tunnels are each 6.5 metres in diameter. The second tunnel is about 30 metres behind the first to reduce the risk of collapse.

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