Lacombe County will spend about $1.5 million next year to pave the service road next to Alberta Downs horse racing track.
The 3.5-km gravel route off Hwy 12 also serves a couple of Lacombe businesses and residents who live around Lacombe Lake.
Council agreed last week to put almost $1.2 million from a Federal Fuel Tax Grant towards the project. About $324,000 will come out of paving reserve fund and nearly $100,000 from the county’s 2013 operating budget.
The road is being paved because it has one of the highest traffic counts for a gravel road in the county. As many as 518 vehicles use the road daily based on a five-day average.
A report to council says it is a good time to tackle the project because paving prices are expected to be low next year because the industry is working well below capacity. Under a development agreement with Alberta Downs, the race track was to pay for upgrading the road if it was given approval to install up to 150 VLTs as part of a racing entertainment facility.
But that has not happened because of a provincial moratorium — that was extended for three more years in February — on new racing entertainment centres. If VLT approval comes later, the race track would be expected to provide paving cash to the county.