Four years of detours and driving delays on the northeast leg of Anthony Henday are about to come to an end.
A wet summer has slowed work on the $1.8-billion project, but officials say those problems will not delay the planned Oct. 1 opening date.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason says the project is on schedule and he’s one of many relieved it is.
“I’ve struggled with the construction for a long time and I’m just really looking forward to getting this project completed.”
Several detours remain in effect along the Henday from Yellowhead Drive to the Whitemud.
Crews are still working on Meridian Street. There’s paving work happening throughout the project. However, much of the work is either done or almost done.
The bridges crossing the North Saskatchewan River are paved and even have lines painted on them. The Baseline Road interchange should open to traffic within two weeks.
Many of the project’s 47 bridges are either complete or just need their on or off ramps completed.
Mason says the wait will be worth it.
“That will complete the ring road around Edmonton. I think it’s going to be very beneficial to the city, to the economy and to the region as a whole.”
For those forced to navigate through the construction, Oct. 1 can’t come soon enough.
John Salome and Nick Schrobilgen are movers from Thunder Bay. On Tuesday, they arrived in Edmonton with a load destined for west Edmonton.
“I was supposed to be the navigator,” Schrobilgen said. “I had the GPS going on the phone. That wasn’t too much of a help.”
The pair was sidetracked by the detours as they entered the city.
“We were trying to follow the detours,” Salome said. “But we were off track about four times. It took a while. We had to tell our customer we were going to be about 30 minutes late.”
It turned out, they were about 45 minutes late.
Salome does not want to go through that again.
“I’m hoping I’m not back here before then because it’s kind of a pain but after Oct. 1, I have no problem coming to Edmonton.”
The construction project finishes off the last 27 kilometres of the Anthony Henday. The new section accounts for nearly half of the more than $4 billion dollars spent to build the ring road.
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