August 21, 2019 5:07 pm

Portion of Highway 15 twinning to be finished by end of summer: Alberta government

Alberta Budget 2017 includes funding for the twinning of the Highway 15 bridge near Fort Saskatchewan

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Twinning of a portion of a major highway in and out of Fort Saskatchewan will be done by the end of the summer, the Alberta government announced Wednesday.

Construction is already underway to twin Highway 15 east of Highway 28A to west of Highway 37. That’s the first part of the project, which the province said will be completed later this summer.

The second part of the project will see a second bridge built over the North Saskatchewan River and Highway 15 twinned from east of Highway 37 to east of the 99 Avenue overpass in Fort Saskatchewan. Construction on the second part of the project is expected to take about three years, according to the government.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, alongside the city’s mayor and area MLAs.

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“Highway 15 is a key corridor for the residents and businesses of Fort Saskatchewan and throughout Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, and twinning will reduce congestion, improve travel times and increase safety,” McIver said in a statement.

READ MORE: Fort Saskatchewan Highway 15 bridge expansion planning work begins

Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur said residents of the community northeast of Edmonton have been waiting for this project for many years.

“Our residents know all too well about congestion, in particular over the bridge, and they’re looking forward to completion of this twinning project to make their daily commute easier and safer,” she said.

The Highway 15 bridge over the North Saskatchewan was built in 1957. It is currently the only bridge across the river, with one lane in each direction. More than 23,000 vehicles use the bridge every day.

The province said traffic on the bridge has increased by 50 per cent since 2009.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017: Funding for Fort Saskatchewan bridge twinning

The plan will see a new two-lane bridge built for eastbound drivers. The current bridge will then be converted into a two-lane westbound-only crossing. A pedestrian crossing will also be built alongside the new eastbound bridge.

Alberta-based contractor Alberco Construction Ltd. was awarded the contract for the project.

Funding for the plan to twin Highway 15 was originally announced in the previous NDP government’s 2017 provincial budget.

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