The province has finally committed to finishing the Highway 43X bypass. County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says it’s been a long-time coming.
“Our regional partners – the City of Grande Prairie, the Towns of Beaverlodge, Wembley, Sexsmith and the Village of Hythe – it’s been their number one priority for a long time for a regional transportation route and access.”
Beaupre says the land has already been purchased and the engineering done, so the hope is to tend the construction by this spring. Original plans included a four-lane highway with three bridges to cross over the Bear River.
“We’re looking forward to seeing in the next few days or weeks what that project is going to look like,” says Beaupre. “We anticipate it’s going to be tendered in the next two weeks, at least this spring, for construction to start.”
While no funds are specifically earmarked for the Beaverlodge Health Centre, Beaupre is encouraged that the $500 million has been set aside for investment in future health projects. The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital will see $337 million into the 2019/2020 fiscal year.
At the same time, Beaupre is concerned that the province is cutting $20 million from Alberta Community Partnership Grants. She points out that they’ve been essential to getting projects in smaller centres that couldn’t afford them otherwise.
Thursday’s budget also included $160 million to build a twin bridge in Peace River, which is expected to further strengthen the transportation corridor connecting the north and south of the province.