The City of Grande Prairie doesn’t share the County’s concerns about the Highway 43X bypass. Council had been asked to support their request to see an interchange built immediately at the intersection with Highway 43, instead of a set of traffic lights. Councillor Chris Thiessen says he’s satisfied the current plans won’t slow down traffic.
“There’s a right turn off ramp that is meant for a truck that can’t stop coming down Richmond Hill so that they can still merge into the double lane that will merge into Highway 43. [The lights are] only for left-turning traffic that comes into the city.”
Thiessen adds that most truck traffic won’t be affected by the new signals, as they’ll be headed west towards the B.C. border after bypassing Grande Prairie. The lights would be four kilometres east of Richmond Hill.
The County is reaching out to surrounding communities to see if they’ll back their request, but a city committee hasn’t recommended council write a letter.
“Despite the fact that there’s this push back,” says Thiessen, “Really Alberta Transportation has put in as much money as they possibly have to put this project in and they bumped it up five years in their capital projects plan.”
The project’s budget is pegged at $54 million total, which the province says could be $70 million with an interchange.