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County commissions Highway 40 twinning cost-benefit study

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The County of Grande Prairie wants a better understanding of the potential impact of twinning Highway 40. It has hired a consulting firm to do a cost-benefit study at a cost of $20,000.

A report by CAO Bill Rogan notes that the highway south of Grande Prairie has been a challenge for the county due to traffic volumes, road configuration, truck traffic, and weather.

“All of these challenges have a social-economic impact on the region and are a large safety concern.”

A cost-benefit study assigns a dollar value to both the price and the rewards of a project to see if it makes financial sense. Nichols Applied Management explains the cost-benefit study is required by the provincial government.

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“In determining which project alternatives provide the best return on investment and has also been deemed by the federal government to be the only acceptable analytical framework through which social and economic costs should be contemplated.”

The results of the research on the impact on social and economic activity in the region are also of interest to the Tri-Municipal Industrial Paternership, and the proposal by Nichols argues they could help encourage the provincial government to move forward with plans for twinning the highway.

Nichols recently did a cost-benefit study and a socio-economic assessment of road upgrades to the proposed Gundy Connector in Saddle Hills County and a Socio-Economic Impact Assessment for the proposed Pembina Two Lakes Sour Gas Processing Facility in the Grande Prairie region.

On top of the cost-benefit study, Nichols had also proposed doing an Economic Impact Analysis and a Social Impact Assessment at an additional cost of $15,000 each. The County didn’t move forward with the other two.

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