Ground was broken Friday in an official ceremony to kick off construction of the new Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton’s downtown core.

It’s estimated the new museum take nearly 3 years to build, at a cost of $340 million – although work to build the facility finally began Friday, it’s a project that has already faced a number of challenges.

Most recently, in late 2011 the project faced a snag when the city and provincial government accused the federal government of pulling funding from the project – which led to a public back and forth over what had been promised.

Since then, common ground had been found.

“Well, it was a tough road to get to approval, and so that’s just what makes today’s sod turning all the sweeter,” Mayor Don Iveson said Friday.

MP Laurie Hawn was credited for acting as mediator between Ottawa and Edmonton – although he insists teamwork brought the project to fruition.

“You know, there was a bit of rhetoric here and there,” Hawn said. “When everybody kind of sits down, calms down, has a good chat, things happen.”

In the end, more than $120 million is slated to come from the federal government, with nearly $220 million from the provincial government.

The new Royal Alberta Museum is expected to open in late 2017.

With files from Bill Fortier