Federal infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi promises the $40 million committed by the federal government towards Edmonton’s 50 Street rail crossing won’t falter.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at Edmonton’s city hall.
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Edmonton on Tuesday to announce $40-million in investment to aid in the construction of a new rail crossing for the 50 Street bridge.
On Global Edmonton’s Morning News Wednesday, Sohi said it’s a “done deal” when asked by anchor Shaye Ganam whether the commitment is definitive.
“The money is there. It’s a commitment that we have made and we have delivered on this commitment and our city can rest assured that they can move forward on this project,” he said.
The at-grade rail Canadian Pacific Railway crossing has been a headache for drivers, causing traffic to come to a standstill while a train crosses the street and often stopping on the tracks, tying up traffic even longer.
LISTEN BELOW: Minister Amarjeet Sohi speaks with 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen
As a resident of southeast Edmonton, Sohi has experienced the frustration firsthand.
“I would say there wouldn’t be a single person living in the southeast part of the city that has not been impacted by this rail crossing.”
It has yet to be determined if the crossing will be an overpass or an underpass. Dale Shekooley, senior communications advisor with the City of Edmonton, said an assessment in 2010 recommended building a traffic underpass, however, engineers are now assessing the area to determine whether that is still the best fit, or whether an overpass is better suited.
WATCH: It’s been a source of frustration for Edmonton drivers for years. Ottawa is pitching in close to $40 million to change the grade of the so-called “stupid train” crossing. Quinn Ohler has details.
The planned improvements include widening 50 Street to six lanes between 76 and 90 Avenue.
Sohi said he’s been working on changing the rail crossing since he was an Edmonton city councillor.
“The whole corridor itself, 50 Street, is very very busy. The growth we’ve experienced in communities of Mill Woods, Meadows and Summerside, Charlesworth and all those communities has added additional pressures,” Sohi said.
The city said the total project cost is about $87.5 million, with the federal government covering $39.8 million, the province covering $28.3 million and the City of Edmonton funding $19.4 million.
Edmonton city councillor Ben Henderson said construction could start in 2020 and last until 2023.
A public information session will be held June 26 at The King’s University, where more information is expected to be shared.
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