Future unclear for plans to expand congested Edmonton freeway
It was almost exactly one year ago. The NDP government’s transportation minister stood in front of an Alberta Government backdrop, behind an Alberta Government podium, to announce an expansion of the notoriously-clogged southwest Anthony Henday Drive.
In the 367 days since then, much has changed.
The UCP is now in power, and promising to get a little stingier when it comes to spending taxpayers’ dollars.
Part of that promise is a review of planned infrastructure projects, including the southwest Henday expansion.
"It’s an important project. I’d like to see it go ahead," said Transportation Minister Ric McIver in a phone call to CTV News Edmonton. "It’s amongst a whole bunch of other important projects that I’d like to see ahead, and that’s why we have the vetting process."
Part of the that process is the work being done the by MacKinnon Panel. It was appointed last month to advise the provincial government on cutting spending and balancing the budget. It’s chaired by Janice MacKinnon, a former Saskatchewan finance minister.
The panel is expected to report to the province by Aug. 15.
"I’m anxious to make it official, one way or another, what we’re doing," said McIver.
The southwest Henday was designed for 40,000 vehicles per day, but as of last year, twice that many cars, trucks and SUVs hit the stretch of pavement on a typical day.
When the initial announcement was made on June 13, 2018, the province said design work was underway, and construction was expected to take three years.