Rachel Notley was in Sherwood Park on Tuesday (April 4) to make a major transportation announcement.
The Alberta NDP leader was joined by Taneen Rudyk, the NDP candidate for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, and Bill Tonita, the NDP candidate for Strathcona-Sherwood Park, to unveil a campaign promise to create an interchange at Highway 15 and Highway 830 near Scotford.
"[This] will help end longstanding delays to traffic flow in the area. Those travelling through the area are often forced to wait for long trains moving in and out of the Industrial Heartland," said the party in a release.
Notley said that, if elected, she would launch a functional planning study in her first 100 days in office.
"This is critical enabling infrastructure that will help attract private sector capital investment to the Industrial Heartland,” said Notley. “This has two critical impacts — it makes travel more convenient for people moving through Strathcona County and surrounding areas and it makes the flow of goods for industry much more manageable.
UCP members quickly took issue with the announcement, claiming that this is a project that is already underway.
“Our government has already been working on this initiative," said Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, the UCP MLA for the constituency. "I have been working with the Minister of Transportation on details and finalization, and hope to share further information soon."
A look at the government's provincial construction plan seems to back that notion up, with an interchange in that area being listed on page 11 of the plan.
Devin Dreeshen, the minister of transportation and economic corridors, took to social media with a shot toward Notley.
Thanks @albertaNDP for announcing a road project in Fort Saskatchewan - Vegreville… that our government has already begun work on!— Devin Dreeshen (@DevinDVote) April 4, 2023
We've already included a new interchange at Hwy 15 and Hwy 830 in the 2023 Provincial Construction Plan! #ableg #abpoli #Elections2023 pic.twitter.com/jV27nZ27yB
FortSaskOnline was able to reach Taneen Rudyk for a response to these allegations from the UCP.
"Talk is cheap and it is important that not only commitment, but the actual money is evident in the budget, and it just wasn't," said Rudyk. "The NDP has not only committed to building out this important infrastructure, it's of key importance that the investment in the region, to support industry, workers, and agriculture, is actually demonstrated."
"An NDP government under Rachel Notley will actually commit to building this important interchange and making sure the industrial engine in the industrial heartland is actually realized."
This also appears to be true, with the only interchange projects in the most recent capital plan being located near Balzac.
According to the NDP, a functional planning study is likely to recommend a diamond interchange, which could cost anywhere between $200-250 million.
NDP transportation critic, Lorne Dach, says the project could create 200 direct construction jobs and 120 indirect jobs in surrounding communities.
The provincial election is set to go on May 29.