With the County of Grande Prairie investing more than $50 million in new capital road and bridge projects this year, residents in the region may wonder why certain roads are prioritized over others. County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says although the selection of roads may seem odd, a lot of time and consideration goes into the selection process.

“It may look like we have a bit of a hopscotch approach to some of the improvements we make, but they are very strategic in placement.”

Beaupre says transportation network studies are also heavily used when it comes to piecing together their construction plan.

“That transportation study identifies which roads are a priority for the County of Grande Prairie and in collaboration with our staff who are on those roads either doing maintenance or driving them daily.”

Beaupre says the administration works to identify the roads in the County of Grande Prairie based on the longevity, what type of improvement the road will need based on traffic count, and when it was built.

“Those recommendations come back to council at budget time with the recommended action for it, funding is allocated, and we continue.”

She says many of the roads within the County of Grande Prairie are chosen for re-build based on the materials they were built with and possible expansions to widen the area for drivers and farm equipment.

“We want to make sure our roads are in the best shape they can be because not only does the industries and the farming community rely on them, but everyone else relies on them to get to and from work or wherever are they’re going. As stewards of taxpayers’ dollars, we rely on these transportation master plans, traffic impact assessments, as well as information we receive from the administration about roads that require maintenance, upgrading, and hard surface.”

Beaupre suggests the costs associated with a new build and a hard surfacing are substantially higher than they were in the past. The County of Grande Prairie allocated $50.1 million this season including 57 kilometres of road surfacing, paving of gravel roads, surfaced road overlays, and re-construction.