Highway 11 twinning will begin south of Sylvan Lake this summer. Roundabouts will be built at Highway 781 (50th Street) and Range Road 15 (60th Street). (Photo from Highway 11 Functional Planning Study)

Highway 11 twinning will begin south of Sylvan Lake this summer. Roundabouts will be built at Highway 781 (50th Street) and Range Road 15 (60th Street). (Photo from Highway 11 Functional Planning Study)

Work begins on Hwy 11 twinning project near Sylvan Lake, despite ‘challenges’

Labour force and materials shortages will be factors

Staying on time and on budget will challenge the $120-million Highway 11 twinning, and other large-scale construction projects in the province, says the CEO of Alberta Road Builders.

Labour force shortages have been a chronic problem, and this summer, material shortages are also a concern, admitted Ron Glen, CEO of Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.

Keeping projects on budget and schedule, can’t be met “unless all the stars align, and the stars aren’t aligning right now,” said Glen.

But we will find a way to get it done, as we always do,” he added, although “it won’t be without challenges.”

While inflation is a happening nation-wide, Alberta Transportation awarded most contracts for the 2022 construction season before costs increased. A department spokesperson stated price increases are being monitored to see if there will be any impact to the work that still needs to be tendered.

On Friday, Alberta Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney announced the first part of a multi-phase project to add a second lane of traffic on Highway 11 between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House has already started with some grading work.

Since motorists will experience short delays near the Sylvan Lake turnoffs this summer, she urged drivers to pay attention to signage and possible lane closures.

“Anytime construction is done, traffic will be impacted. We are asking everybody to be careful” and put safety first.

This season, construction crews will twin Highway 11 from 2 km west of Highway 781 to 1 km east of Highway 20. Improvements will include creating a two-lane roundabout at the intersections of Highway 11 and Highway 781 (50 Street in Sylvan Lake) and at Highway 11 and Range Road 15 (60 Street). This part of the work should be completed by this fall.

Phase two, scheduled for next 2023, entails twinning Highway 11 from one km west of Township Road 390 near Benalto to two km, west of Highway 781 — is expected to begin in 2023.

The third phase in 2024 will see the highway twinned from Rocky Mountain House to one km east of Highway 22. And the last section to be built will be the 41-km stretch from Highway 22 to Township Road 390, just east of Benalto.

Design, right-of-way purchasing, public consultations, and preliminary planning for the Highway 11 twinning project began in 2021.

sylvanlake