Bridges, roads face major work

Several major paving projects and a Hwy 2 bridge replacement are planned in Central Alberta this construction season.

Several major paving projects and a Hwy 2 bridge replacement are planned in Central Alberta this construction season.

The Hwy 2 bridge over Wolf Creek west of Ponoka will be replaced over the next two years as part of a project estimated at $5 million to $6 million, says Alberta Transportation.

To avoid creating major backlogs on the highway all four lanes will remain open during peak hours with some local diversions taking place, said Alberta Transportation spokesman Jamie Friesen.

The Rimbey area will also see some major roadwork with 29 km of Hwy 53 scheduled for repaving this summer at an estimated cost of $8 million. In the same area, 11 km of Hwy 771 will be repaved north of Hwy 53 in a project budgeted at $2 million.

Another paving project west of Bowden will see 16 km of Hwy 587 resurfaced from Red Lodge Provincial Park west at an estimated cost of $6 million.

Three km of Hwy 20 near Sylvan Lake will also be done at a cost of around $3 million.

“It is scheduled for this summer, but it hasn’t been tendered yet. If it is tendered in time it is projected to be completed this year,” said Friesen.

The ongoing project to redesign the Olds interchange is also expected to wrap this year.

Two loops on the current interchange were eliminated and two on-ramps improved to provide a safer and more efficient access.

“They’re just finishing the work to do some final paving on the ramps, and there will be some minor traffic disruptions in the area while they finish,” he said.

The $2.5-million project was part of was part of a larger, $23-million Hwy 2 upgrade last year which included repaving of 42 km between Red Deer and Carstairs.

Among the projects on the longer term schedule is a roundabout at Hwy 2 near Blackfalds.

It will be similar but much larger than the one built at Sylvan Lake several years ago. It is on the table for next year.

Overall, the province has earmarked $5 billion in the next three years to the road system, including $735 million for paving overlays, a $284-million boost from the 2013-16 capital plan.

More than 2,500 km of roadways will see improvements, Transportation Minister Wayne Drysdale announced in Rimbey on Monday morning.

Friesen said one of the messages that came out of Alberta Transportation’s public consultations on a new transportation strategy was the need to continue putting money into local road projects.

Some felt there was too much focus on major initiatives such as twinning Hwy 63 and building ring roads.

“After hearing these things, that’s one of the reasons we added $284 million into the budget for road rehabilitation,” he said.