County of Grande Prairie Council recently re-upped their provincial advocacy strategic priority list, and once again the twinning of Highway 40 remains high atop that list.
Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the move shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the messaging has been pretty consistent from members of the council, and other advocacy groups in the region.
“Moving up the timelines for actually building the twinning of Highway 40 and the second bridge across the Wapiti River is also a very important piece of our advocacy.”
In December 2018, the former NDP government announced plans to start twinning the highway with construction set to start in 2022. However, progress on that project has not been made public and no start date has been announced since the United Conservative Party formed a government.
Beaupre believes the county and other local governments have done their part in making sure transportation infrastructure is taken care of as best as possible. Adding that over half of the tax dollars collected in the region goes directly back into public works, which includes road network improvements.
“I appreciate the financial situation everyone is in, but at the same time, they also recognize this is part of the economic engine that drives the Province of Alberta,” she says.
“We expect, and we would hope the government would recognize that it’s very important because of the activity in this area and would do the same with the funding they get out of this region.”
A recent economic impact states twinning the first 19-kilometres of Highway 40 south of Grande Prairie could generate as much as $483.7 million in economic benefit for the area over the next 30 years.