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Southwest Anthony Henday Drive bridge completion delayed into 2023

Residents of southwest Edmonton will have to put up with Anthony Henday Drive construction longer than expected.

Work to widen the freeway from four to six lanes at the bridge spanning the North Saskatchewan River has been a source of frustration since July.

CTV News Edmonton has learned that while progress has been made on the $100-million upgrade, the project has been delayed a year.

"While the majority of the southwest Anthony Henday Drive expansion project will be complete this year, bridge work will continue into 2023," said Mike Long, an Alberta Transportation spokesperson.

The majority of bridge widening work will be completed this year, Long added in a statement to CTV News. Girders on the westbound bridge will be installed this year, while work to add girders to the eastbound bridge is scheduled to begin in spring 2023.

"Several factors, including weather delays, labour shortages and supply chain issues, have contributed to the delay in completing the project this year," Long said. "Because of the delay in completion, the contractor will incur financial penalties as outlined in the project contract."

The westbound bridge is closed weekly from 8 p.m. on Thursdays to 6 a.m. on Mondays until October, limiting traffic to one lane in each direction on the eastbound side.

During the winter, two lanes of traffic in each direction will be open to motorists.

"We understand that these closures are inconvenient for motorists and will create delays, however, the investment we are making will allow for increased capacity, result in less congestion and improved travel times," he added.

Whitemud Drive is the recommended alternate route.

Jim Oko, who relies on the Henday several times a week, says he's been avoiding it whenever he can.

"It's very frustrating," Oko told CTV News Edmonton. "I don't know why they didn't put in three lanes going each way to begin with."

"I'd like to think that this is the end of it, but I've come to realize with this government and the city, unfortunately, we always build towards today," echoed Yvette Nault-Swinerd, another motorist.

"We don't build towards the future," Nault-Swinerd added. "So my biggest worry is we'll have the three lanes, which will be wonderful, but by that time, we'll need four or five lanes."

Both Oko and Nault-Swinerd expressed frustration over the sudden lane changes around the construction site.

"I hate the stress," Nault-Swinerd said. "I hate getting caught out in a lane. I hate just the aggravation of it."

Gary Brooks, Carmacks Enterprises president, said while those changing lanes may appear random to drivers, they are being done to give concrete time to set.

"They pour the concrete, and it needs time to cure before they open the roadway," Brooks said. "That was the catalyst for having these centre lane closures, which is very uncommon on an asphalt piece of roadway.

"We would not create a delay unless it was for a good reason and predominately it's for public safety and then secondly for worker safety, of course," Brooks added.

He estimated that delays next summer would likely be less disruptive than those this summer.

"We're anxious to have it open as soon as the commuter is too," Brooks said. Top Stories

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