Federal and provincial governments commit $500M to Alberta highway projects

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WATCH ABOVE: The federal and provincial governments plan to spend more than $500 million on 96 road and bridge projects across Alberta over the next two summers. Tom Vernon reports – Apr 20, 2017

The federal and provincial governments are providing half a billion dollars for highway projects across Alberta.

Improvements to the QEII are among the 96 total projects. About 113 kilometres of the highway will be repaved and a new southbound lane will be added in Leduc County, between the 41 Avenue interchange and Highway 19. The project will cost nearly $41 million.

Other projects will be happening on Highway 63, where two culverts will be replaced with a new bridge over the Hangingstone River southbound and paving will be done on the highway near Fort McMurray and near the Town of Grassland.

Work will also be done on Highway 43 in northwest Alberta, highways in five municipalities in the northern part of the province, and improvements to highway segments in southern and central Alberta.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Alberta Insfrastructure and Transportation Minister Brian Mason announced on Thursday morning funding for the highway rehabilitiation and improvement projects.

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The projects have an estimated cost of $535 million. The federal Liberals are investing nearly $255 million, while the provincial NDP is contributing $279 million.

“The Government of Canada’s investments in trade and transportation infrastructure will build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to regional and international markets and help Canadian business to compete, grow, and create more jobs for Canada’s middle class,” Sohi said.

READ MORE: Feds throw funding towards Edmonton’s Yellowhead Trail project

“By working with our federal counterparts, we are able to do even more to improve highways, connect communities and enhance the movement of goods and services across Alberta,” Mason said.

“This joint investment supports nearly 100 road and bridge projects from Taber to Peace River and dozens of communities in between as we work to make lives better right across the province.”

READ MORE: Alberta NDP tables fingers-crossed budget, projects $10.3-billion deficit

Jim Rivait from Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association said it’s a good time for government to commit to increased investment.

“When the market’s tighter, the margins get tighter for companies and it’s a better deal for the purchaser,” Rivait said. “In a lot of these things, the government is the buyer, and so when it’s a better deal for them it’s a better deal for taxpayers.”

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The Canadian government has said it will provide more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding across the country over 12 years.

“Here in Alberta, since taking office, our government has approved more than 128 projects with a combined investment, in partnership with the province and territories, of $4.3 billion,” Sohi said.

The province’s 2017 four-year capital plan invests $29.5 billion for infrastructure like schools, roads and bridges.

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