Construction on Memorial Trail will begin as soon as the provincial government ponies up the promised $4.5 million for the job.
And the Town of Sylvan Lake has endorsed extra work to address the contentious and dangerous Hwys 11/781 intersection.
On Monday, town councillors awarded the contract to Border Paving, dependant on Alberta Transportation approving the funding.
The money was promised earlier by Alberta Transportation but central region director Brian Reid said there was more work that needed to be done, including changes to the intersections of Hwys 20 and 11, and Hwys 11 and 781. He estimated those costs would be an extra $2.2 million, and that has not been approved by the province yet.
He added the project has a much bigger scope than what was previously approved by the Transportation minister two years ago. He said they do have the $4.5 million ready to do the work but the department would like to do all the work at the same time rather than to split it up in two or three phases.
“We are working hard to get the extra funding to make all the changes needed, but the scope of the work dictates that the Transportation minister has to sign off on a project this big,” said Reid.
The construction that was approved includes constructing a two-lane rural cross-section roadway that will go from 60th Street east to Hwy 20.
The additional work requested by Alberta Transportation includes an extended acceleration ramp at Hwy 11 and 50th Street (Hwy 781) and major improvements to the Hwy 20 and Hwy 11 intersection. The whole cost of the project was estimated at $7.5 million.
Councillors approved the project for just under $6.5 million, expecting that Alberta Transportation will come through with the $4.5 million. Once they do, the project will get underway soon after.
For the extra construction needed, Reid said they have a new Transportation minister and they are working to get him to sign off on the extra money needed. None of that construction would be a cost to Sylvan Lake and would be added to the costs of the project.
Memorial Trail has been a concern for local residents as it is the main thoroughfare from west to east for people heading to Red Deer since changes at the Hwy 11 and 781 intersection made it right-in, right-out only. The road has become a problem as it is very narrow for vehicles passing each other from opposite directions and it has almost become undrivable because of worn down conditions.
Reid said the project has been fast-tracked and they anticipate everything being finished by the end of this construction year.