Roads & Paving
Alberta investing up to $165M in Grande Prairie highway improvement projects
By Andrew Snook
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley recently announced two infrastructure projects designed to improve travel in the Grande Prairie region.
One project will focus on the twinning of 19 km of Highway 40 between Grande Prairie and south of the Wapiti River area. The Highway 40 project also includes a second bridge across the Wapiti River with a pedestrian walkway; intersection improvements and new traffic signals; and upgraded lighting to LEDs. More than 10,000 vehicles travel the section of Highway 40 to be twinned on a daily basis.
“The Grande Prairie region plays a vital part in our province’s economy. Our investment in these projects will improve our highway networks, support economic growth and ensure the safe and efficient movement of vehicles through the region,” Notley stated.
Planning for the twinning of Highway 40 is complete and design is underway. Land acquisition and utility relocation can begin immediately, and once that is complete, the project is expected to take between three and four years to complete. Cost for the twinning project is estimated to range between $90 million and $110 million, according to Government of Alberta press secretary Kate Toogood.
A full interchange will also be built at the intersection of Highways 43 and 43X – the new Grande Prairie bypass – following the scheduled opening of the bypass in the summer of 2019. The interchange project is expected to cost between $40 million and $55 million. Planning for the future interchange is complete and design is underway. Land acquisition and utility relocation can start right away and are expected to be complete by 2021. Once that is done, the interchange project will take approximately two years of construction to complete, according to Toogood.
“Collectively our region has worked hard to raise these projects with the government and we appreciate that they listened to our needs,” stated Grande Prairie mayor Bill Given. “The Grande Prairie area is expected to double in population over the next 20 years and so, in addition to making roads safer, these projects will support job creation and recognize the growing contribution our area makes to the Alberta economy.”
The population of Grande Prairie is expected to grow from 63,000 to 121,000 by 2037. Currently through Grande Prairie, Highway 43 averages 27,000 vehicle trips daily.
“These highway routes continue to experience steady growth and are essential to the economic development of the Grande Prairie area,” added Minister of Transportation Brian Mason. “These projects will not only improve access to industrial and residential expansion, but will significantly improve safety for all travellers.”
The two projects are expected to support more than 700 direct and indirect jobs in the region.
“Our region as a whole, including the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie and Municipal District of Greenview, will all benefit tremendously from these projects which will allow for safer travel for residents, employees and visitors alike, and pave the way for continued exponential growth of this area, both in population and business development,” said Dan Wong, chair of Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce.