City of Brampton staff is poised to make recommendations this week on how to proceed with Brampton’s light rail (LRT) extension on Main Street.
Running on the surface, underground, or a surface one-way loop are all options that will be studied by city staff for the Hurontario LRT extension to Downtown Brampton GO.
The Main Street LRT extension was revived by city council in December 2018, after being killed by the previous term of council in October 2015.
As a redirection to the LRT Alternatives Study, the new options will be explored so that the existing environmental assessment can be updated. This step is required to bring the project forward into the design and eventual construction stages.
The five options are:
- Original surface route between Steeles and Queen, stopping at Charolais, Nanwood, Wellington, and Brampton GO
- One-way loop in Downtown Brampton (dual surface lanes south of Wellington), stopping at Charolais, Nanwood, Queen, and Brampton GO
- Surface route to south of Nanwood Drive and then a tunnel under Main to Downtown Brampton GO, stopping at Charolais (surface), Nanwood (underground), Queen (underground), and Brampton GO (underground)
- Surface route to south of Nanwood Drive and then a tunnel under Main to Downtown Brampton GO, stopping at Charolais (surface), Elgin (surface), and Downtown/Brampton GO (underground)
- Surface route to south of Nanwood Drive and then a tunnel under Main to Wellington before tunnelling under George Street, stopping at
Charolais (surface), Elgin (surface), and Downtown/Brampton GO (underground)
The cost estimates for each of these options range between $400 million to $1.7 billion.
The time to update the studies and do geotechnical work (which is important due to the floodplain nature of the route) means that the amended environmental assessment should be complete by March 2021. Three public open houses are being planned during this period.
The city will attempt to preserve the Downtown Brampton Reimagined project as much as possible, with the tunnel options being the best choice for keeping it in its entirety.
The extension is currently unfunded, as the project budget was cut by $400 million in 2015, reflecting Brampton City Council’s decision not to continue the LRT route north of Steeles Avenue.
Rapid transit elsewhere in the city is also being looked at. On Main Street north of downtown Brampton, the current Züm service would be sufficient, though it may be extended to Highway 410 in the north. Protection for LRT right-of-way will be considered as part of the planning.
On Kennedy and McLaughlin, where alternate routes for the Hurontario LRT extension were sought, new rapid transit will probably come in the form of Züm. At this point, only Kennedy has the ridership required to support a Züm corridor.
Between the LRT extension, Züm on Kennedy and McLaughlin, priority bus infrastructure on Main north of downtown, and Queen Bus Rapid Transit, Brampton will eventually need $1.7-$3 billion to fund the current rapid transit priorities.