The twinning of Highway 40 will take up a significant chunk of the County of Grande Prairie’s 2021 capital spending budget. Of the $24.7 million approved by county councillors, $3.3 million of that will be put aside as part of cost-sharing the project with the MD of Greenview and the Government of Alberta.
Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the project, which includes the twinning of 19 kilometres from the city of Grande Prairie to just south of the Norbord plant, is a big-ticket item that has been a long time in the making.
“Council has heard from our ratepayers and industry how important it is to continue to make those investments in those capital projects, especially roads, bridges, and culverts,” she says.
“That either allows people to travel safely or industry to move product… and council recognized that and strategically it’s where a lot of money went.”
Despite some aspects of the construction set to begin this past summer, Beaupre says they’re optimistic that shovels will be in the ground at some point in 2021, and they wanted to be prepared for that eventuality.
“As long as it starts, the money has been allocated…it’s a third of the project, [which] we’ve committed to making payments over three years, the same as the MD of Greenview has.”
In addition to the twinned section, plans also include 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.
However, the twinning of Highway 40 is one of several big transportation projects on the docket. Beaupre says around $7.7 million will also be allocated to a trio of bridges in the region. The Kleskun Creek, Bear Creek, and Spring Creek bridges will also all be replaced.
Beaupre adds the Spring Creek Bridge saw a catastrophic failure in 2020, which caused the closure of the roadway over the bridge.
“That one was a bit of a surprise, I didn’t think it was up for its end-of-life cycle, but we certainly know it needed to be fixed now, and we can move forward to get it open to the public and industry.”
In total, the county also received grant funding equalling around 17.2 from the provincial and federal governments’ to help fund many of the capital investments.