Preliminary designs for Cambridge LRT show 18 km of track, $1.3B price tag
CAMBRIDGE – We know the route that the Ion will take to Cambridge, and now we're getting a first sense of what it could look like.
Preliminary designs for the estimated $1.3 billion line were released on Wednesday morning.
Officials say that phase two will be a much bigger project than phase one, which brought the LRT to Kitchener and Waterloo.
The line crosses two rivers, two highways and will need a new bridge. That may help explain why stage two is roughly the same length as stage one, but will cost $500 million more.
"The scale is greater than we have for stage one," says project manager Matthew O'Neil.
"We're hitting a lot of mixed-use areas, we're going to areas where people live, where people work, recreational areas. I think that's a big plus."
He says the plan is to ask upper levels of government to cover the entire price tag, and not just two thirds like the province and federal government did for phase one.
The proposed 18-kilometre line has eight stops in Kitchener and Cambridge, with the preferred route touching all kinds of properties.
By CTV's count, 256 properties will be impacted, with the region needing to buy slices of 215 parcels of land and 41 entire properties.
But Waterloo Region and City of Cambridge officials both stress that this is only the preliminary design, with construction still likely more than a decade away.
"Property owners that may be affected have a long lead time to figure out how much they're willing to see their property impacted," says Mayor Kathryn McGarry.
"Or, for those who may be fully expropriated, where they would like to move and to make sure they get good market value for their property."
After seeing more than $2 billion in development along the line in Kitchener-Waterloo, McGarry says she welcomes the Ion rolling into town.
"I think this'll be good for development. I think it'll be good filling our tax coffers, but it really does help to address the number of people that are coming to live in Cambridge," she says.
Planners and engineers say that future stops could even be on the table if enough people move to the city.
Public consultation on the designs begin in late November. It'll be the first time for public feedback since the launch of stage one.