The County of Grande Prairie will be looking to once again move forward with the province when it comes to protecting land needed for the long-discussed Highway 40x East bypass. This, after members of council directed county staff to reengage with Alberta Transportation on the now five-year-old plan to connect Highway 43 east of Grande Prairie with Highway 40 south of the city.
Reeve Leanne Beaupre says after the East Connector survey was completed in 2016, they had a general idea as to what the alignment of the proposed ring road would look like, including a crossing of Bear Creek. She says the important step now is to take the data already collected and try and secure the future space for the proposal.
“We’d even gone as far as doing a tabletop exercise which was really beneficial because it showed us where access across the Bear Creek would be,” she says.
“That project has kind of stalled over the last few years… and we know it’s easier to protect alignment and road right of way now for future investments.”
Beaupre says it’s the third provincial government the region has worked with on the project, but she understands that every government that enters power has its own mandate on infrastructure projects. She says taking the step to protect the land needed for the work has precedence in other jurisdictions.
“As we’ve seen in the past, previous government’s have done the work and protected the alignment for future projects such as the Anthony Henday to the north, and even if you look at the ring road around the southwest part of the City of Calgary, it’s had its challenges,” she says.
“But, those were alignments, many years ago they had already had the discussion about where they should go once they do make the investment.”
The Highway 40X East connector hasn’t been approved for completion and no timeline on that decision is known.