June 22nd, 2024

Province breaks ground on Highway 3 twinning project


By Cal Braid - Southern Alberta Newspapers Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 1, 2024.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshen, speaks at a worksite near Taber on Friday during a ceremony to officially mark the start of the Highway 3 twinning project.

A groundbreaking ceremony at a work site east of Taber was held Friday to mark the beginning of the long awaited Highway 3 twinning project.

The project is now underway on the 46-kilometre two lane stretch between Taber and Burdett and will continue in another seven phases.

Bill Chapman of the Highway 3 twinning development association said the return on investment ratio is expected to be three to one.

“This event is obviously history in the making,” he said. “We are hounoured and grateful for the commitment of the provincial government to twin the remaining 220 kilometres of highway.”

He said that the region is already seeing major investments that are proofs of the vision that led to the commencement of the project.

Ultimately, the goal is twin the highway from Medicine Hat all the way to the B.C. border.

Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshen, called it a “decades in the making project.”

He said during his time as the minister of agriculture and forestry, nearly a billion dollars in irrigation expansion was invested into the region, bringing hundreds of thousands of new irrigated acres on-stream.

“To have this infrastructure really does signal to investors around the world that southern Alberta can have that capacity and can be that magnet for investment and job creation here in the province,” he said.

The $170 million phase one project is expected to be completed by Ledcor by next year. Dreeshen said the expansion will not only enhance the viability of the economic corridor, but will improve safety for families who travel the road.

One major change in the road will be at Grassy Lake and Highway 877, where the plan is to re-route the highway and create a complete bypass going around the area, Dreeshen said.

The other seven phases are in various stages of designing, engineering, and land acquisition. “We want to see them completed as soon as possible,” he said.

Grant Hunter, MLA for Taber-Warner, was on site and said, “I just want to do a shout out to every mayor and reeve along this corridor that has tirelessly advocated for this work.”

He also credited Dreeshen for his work on the “value proposition” that the project would bring.

“We all recognized that if we build it, they’ll come. Just last year we saw McCain announce their largest global expansion in the world, a $600 million expansion. We just had an announcement from Coaldale of NewCold, a $220 million food logistics investment.”

Jeff Appelman, vice-president of highways for Ledcor Group of companies, concluded the event by saying, “This government invests in good roads because good roads save lives. Good roads drive the GDP of this province. Good roads save money, good roads create jobs, good roads build a strong tax base for health and education.”

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