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County of Grande Prairie approves $10 million for Highway 40 twinning

The County of Grande Prairie will spend $10 million on the Highway 40 twinning project. Council approved the contribution to the road bridge construction project at its meeting Monday.

The work includes the twinning of 19 kilometres from the City of Grande Prairie to just south of the Norbord plant. Reeve Leanne Beaupre says though the stretch is mostly within the Municipal District of Greenview, it also runs partially through the County and benefits residents and workers in both municipalities.

“We felt that as part of that bridge benefits the residents of the County of Grande Prairie as well as a certain percentage of the road, we looked at it as an opportunity to support our neighbour,” she says.

The project also includes a second bridge across the Wapiti River with a pedestrian walkway, improvements to bridges and intersections, upgrading existing lighting to LED, and a median vehicle inspection station to help oversee the safety of the commercial trucking industry. The Government of Alberta revealed in February that it will move forward thanks to a cost-sharing agreement with the County and MD. Loose estimates have placed the overall cost between $100 and $120 million.

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Beaupre adds the bridge twinning and road expansion will not only see construction jobs created but will also benefit businesses in other industries throughout the County.

“Even from our industry members that, either their businesses in the County of Grande Prairie or in the area but the majority of their work is south of the river, we’ve heard from them that there [are] some limitations to growing their business because of the road system that’s presently there.”

The MD of Greenview has committed covering up to 50 per cent of the cost of the project, with no more than $60 million coming from its road infrastructure reserves. $30 million will be paid in 2020 and $30 million in 2021, and the $10 million from the County will be deducted from that, paid over the course of three years in equal increments. The other half will be supplied by the province.

According to Beaupre, Alberta Transportation has not yet acquired all of the necessary rights of way and land use permissions it requires to begin construction. The current goal is to have the project tendered “as soon as possible” and dirt moved by this fall.

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