Twinning Highway 63 on Track, Drysdale Tells Truckers
BANFF, AB — Twinning of Highway 63 is on track to be completed by 2016, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation, Wayne Drysdale told the Alberta Motor Transportation Association in April.
“We understand that your industry is an important part of our livelihoods that’s why it’s important for me to share the work that government is doing to continue to support Albertans on our highways, including those who deliver the goods,” Drysdale said.
More than 20 percent of the 240 km twinning is now complete and open to the public and another 60 percent is under construction. By fall of 2015, 70 percent of twinning is expected to be complete and the remaining 30 percent will be completed by fall 2016.
By summer 2014 all twinning contracts will be awarded, keeping work on track with the deadline to twin 240 kilometres of Highway 63 fall 2016.
Highway 63 twinning projects expected to be awarded:
- 26 km of grade/base/pave from south of Marianna Lake to north of Marianna Lake - summer 2016 completion.
- 13 km of grade/base/pave work north of Grasslands – fall 2016 completion.
Drysdale commented: “There’ll be three more rest areas along Highway 63 as well as three staging areas for larger trucks – critical for reducing driver fatigue and improving motor safety along Highway 63.”
Construction began in 2009 with tree clearing and grading, with paving completed during the spring and summer. All work was scheduled around caribou calving seasons.
This $84-million project to twin 36 km was completed approximately nine months ahead of schedule.
Drysdale added: “I’m [also] committed to protecting our existing infrastructure. We had to make some tough choices in the last couple of years when 900 million dollars were cut out of our budget; of course that gets cuts in maintenance, it seems that happens everywhere.”
He said the 2014 budget has 9.7 billion set aside for transportation projects over the next three years.
“That’s a 30-percent increase – 2.2 billion increase from 2013,” Drysdale explained.
The Budget 2014 includes:
- 5 billion in provincial highway network projects
- 3.1 billion in operational expenses including spending on highway and bridge maintenance
- 1.5 billion in other support including 928 million in funding municipalities
Over the next three years, 735 million will be invested in highway rehabilitation, an increase of 284 million from last year and nearly 230 km of new roads will be built in Alberta, Drysdale said.