By Collin Gallant on March 17, 2021.
Two high-profile highway projects in southeastern Alberta – announced as COVID Stimulus work last summer – will only move to design phases in 2021, while ground will break on a separate revamp of major roadways in Medicine Hat.
The 2021 Alberta Transportation work plan, released recently, says the planning will proceed this year to twin Highway 3, from Taber to Burdett, and to repave the eastbound Trans-Canada Bridge in Medicine Hat. Reconfiguring the interchange of Highways 1 and 3 within city limits will see construction get underway. That project was first discussed in the city’s transportation plan documents 10 years ago, and involves adding lanes and lights to the meeting of Gershaw Drive and the Trans-Canada in the city’s southwest. Further phases would eliminate or simplify intersections between Gershaw Drive and the South Saskatchewan River.
At a press conference in Red Deer, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said the total $20.7-billion construction plan, including past year amounts plus $825-million in new projects, would create 90,000 jobs.
Design work will also proceed on rehabilitating two overpasses between Medicine Hat and Redcliff, over the Canadian Pacific rail line and Box Springs Road, respectively.
Last month’s provincial budget outlined only $10 million for the Highway 3 twinning – said to cost $150 million in total – in the current year on a list of major projects.
Officials with the Highway 3 Twinning Association told Southern Alberta Newspapers this winter they expected construction no sooner than the fall, as the design and land acquisition moved forward. In Medicine Hat, the Trans-Canada Bridge has been scheduled for repaving and a new deck since the westbound span was entirely replaced in 2014.
At that time, all four lanes of traffic were diverted to the remaining bridge, and since then the deck has become badly rutted and patchy.
In the greater region, Alberta Transportation will pave 22 kilometres of gravel roadway on Highway 876.
That road connects Highway 1 north of Tilley to Patricia. Design work is also slated for widening Highway 515, between Highway 41 south of Irvine and the Saskatchewan boundary, and Highway 61.