By Mabell, Dave on November 13, 2019.
Alberta’s new highways budget provides $4.4 billion to build and repair highways across the province. But there’s not one project identified for southern Alberta in budget details released Tuesday.
Ring roads in Calgary and Edmonton will account for $2.9 billion of that amount, officials say. Another $104 million will be spent widening an Edmonton bypass route through Devon.
“More than $1.5 billion is allocated to maintaining the condition of Alberta’s existing highways and bridges to extend their lifespan and support safe and efficient travel,” said Calgary MLA Ric McIver, the transportation minister.
Contacted Tuesday, the minister’s office was unable to respond with details about maintenance projects in the Lethbridge or Medicine Hat regions.
There was also no information related to the pre-election promise to replace the eastbound Highway 3 bridge into Lethbridge, now about 70 years old. During a campaign stop in Lethbridge, then-Opposition Leader Jason Kenney agreed to honour the NDP government’s plan to replace the aging structure.
With regard to major transportation corridors, the transportation minister was more positive.
Those funded projects, McIver said, “will increase safety for all drivers and support major trade corridors to improve travel for commercial carriers in key industries.”
There was no mention of the Canamex highway corridor through Lethbridge, however. A previous Conservative government designated a Highway 3 bypass route north of the city and purchased land for the projected right-of-way in preparation for the increasing volume of north-south trade.
And the budget release said nothing about twinning Highway 3 between Taber and Medicine Hat, despite the route’s growing importance as one of the nation’s “food corridors.”
In the Calgary area, however, McIver allocated $65 million for an interchange for Highways 1A and 22 near Cochrane.
As well, $1.8 billion has been earmarked for the Calgary ring road, including the southwest and west projects and upgrades to five kilometres of the northeast segment.
And $209.8 million is “identified for improvements to Deerfoot Trail in Calgary, with $110.1 million included in the four-year 2019 Capital Plan and $99.7 million in future years.”
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