Driving economic growth by investing in Alberta's highways

Written by Colin Piquette, MLA for Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater.

In the last session of the legislative assembly, I had the opportunity to give a member’s statement on the great work being done through the Northwest Upgrader and Alberta’s industrial heartland, especially surrounding economic diversification in our region and throughout our province. This week I gave a speech in response to the throne on the topic of economic diversification; the heartland is one area in which economic diversification is accelerating.

Largely because of this accelerated economic growth, we are seeing an increase in the use of highways and infrastructure in the region. This is excellent news, but I have heard a number of concerns about the problems associated with increased traffic on our highways, particularly Highway 28. I have taken these concerns seriously and have been advocating heavily for improvements to the infrastructure in our region. It is this issue I would like to address today.

Our government’s priority is public safety, which is why we’re investing to ensure our roads and highways are safe. These investments will create jobs in the short term while we build a strong economic foundation for our children and grandchildren.

As part of the Government of Alberta’s Capital Plan, Transportation is investing $4.6 billion on the provincial highway network, including projects such as Highways 63 and 28 to provide better, safer roads for families and industry.

Our government’s priority is public safety, which is why we’re investing to ensure our roads and highways are safe.

Specifically, a contract has been awarded for improvements along Highway 28 from Gibbons to Highway 827. The project was tendered last fall, and the bulk of the work will take place this (2016) construction season. The improvements include an overlay, grade widening and curve alignment. As well, a design is being completed for construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Highways 28 and 831.

Intersection improvement work at Hwy37/28A and 37/28 are included in the 2015-2018 Construction Plan. They are currently under design and Right of Way acquisition is underway. A tender package is expected this fall. They are tentatively scheduled for construction in 2017. Regarding the intersection of Highways 28A and 37, we are currently looking at short-, medium- and long-term solutions to address concerns at this intersection and recently assessed traffic signal timings and analyzed current traffic patterns. In the long-term, we are reviewing the use of a two lane roundabout at the intersection of Highways 28A and 37.

I hope the information I have provided here is useful to you, and that it is able to set to rest many of the concerns I have been hearing about infrastructure issues in our region.