CALGARY – Funding for the Calgary ring road was cut five per cent in the 2015 budget, deferring completion of the west section until at least 2020.
The southwest Calgary ring road (from 69 Street SW to Highway 2A) will continue as planned. Transportation officials said they hope to start construction in 2015 pending the finalization of the land transfer agreement with the Tsuu T’ina nation.
The Government of Alberta and Tsuu T’ina Nation signed a land transfer agreement in November 2013. Once the land is transferred, the agreement requires the province to complete the southwest section within seven years.
“We still haven’t gotten the land from the federal government,” said Minister of Transportation Wayne Drysdale. “We’re hoping and expecting to get it this summer, so we can’t start there until we actually get the land title in our hands.”
But the west part of the ring road (from Highway 1 to 69 Street SW) has been delayed until 2020 or 2021, according to Transportation officials. Government officials said overall funding was reduced because of market conditions in the coming years.
FULL COVERAGE: Alberta Budget 2015
The budget outlines $2.9 billion in funding for the ring roads over the next five years—the majority of which will go to finishing the Edmonton ring road, which is on track to be completed by 2016.
Officials said in June that construction of the Calgary ring road was two-thirds complete at 70 km, with only 31 km of road to go before the “ring” would be connected.
Ten kilometres of connector roads and interchanges were set to be upgraded as part of the overall project.
When finished, the final section of the ring road is meant to contain 66 bridges, 20 interchanges, two underpasses and several river crossings.
The budget allocates a total of $6.7 billion for the provincial transportation network. This includes the ring road costs as well as highway rehabilitation projects and the continuing twinning of Highway 63, which retained full funding.
Overall, the 2015 budget’s capital plan supports $29.5 billion in projects over five years, including $4.8 billion in capital maintenance and renewal.
“When you look at infrastructure builds we’re going to do for roads and bridges, I think people can feel comfortable their money’s being well spent,” said Finance Minister Robin Campbell in a briefing Thursday afternoon.
With files from Melissa Ramsay
© 2015 Shaw Media