The provincial government has given an update on the proposed new interchange at Highway 15 and Highway 830 north of Fort Saskatchewan.
On Monday (Apr. 24) morning, transportation minister Devin Dreeshen was joined by MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk and Strathcona County mayor Rod Frank at the Strathcona County Fire Station 4 to give an update on the project.
"People in this area, and local businesses, know that Highway 15 and Highway 830 is an extremely important intersection," said Dreeshen. "It's also a very busy location that can get backed up with vehicles waiting for trains to pass."
"Talking to locals around here saying that guys going home from work can be caught there for over an hour."
Dreeshen went on to announce that the Alberta government was moving forward with providing the funding needed to undergo the engineering process for the project.
"Budget 2023 actually commits $750,000 to the engineering and design work for this intersection," said Dreeshen. "We recognize the importance of investing in key transportation corridors like here."
Armstrong-Homeniuk, who represents the Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville area as their MLA, was happy to see this be announced.
"I know that many of my constituents have been waiting for an update on when improvements to the intersection of Highways 15 and 830 would move ahead," said Armstrong-Homeniuk. "Improving this intersection will significantly improve traffic flow through the area, which will help save time and money for both residents and industry."
"This project will also promote future development in the region as industries rely on strong infrastructure to transport goods safely and efficiently."
As for a timeline on when work will get done, Dreeshen said that the engineering and planning phases could take up to two years. Work after that phase is done will focus on securing more funding and having it stay on the capital plan.
"Construction of this type of project can take [an additional] year or two," said Dreeshen. "The typical [timeframe] for any intersection [is in] that two-to-four-year range."
"We want to make sure we can design something that actually works and can stand the test of time."
Earlier this year, the Alberta NDP made a campaign promise to build this intersection, utilizing a structure known as a diamond interchange.
Dreeshen says that the government will wait until the engineering and planning phase is done before announcing exactly what kind of interchange will be built.
"We'll see on the specifics of the design work," said Dreeshen. "I defer to our engineers and experts in the department."
"It's still kind of up in the air of what the specific design will look like."
Engineering work is expected to start this year.