The Alberta government announced Thursday that the contract to expand the southwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive has been awarded to Carmacks Enterprises.

Construction to widen the four-lane stretch between Calgary Trail and Whitemud Drive to six lanes will begin in the fall and is expected to be complete in 2022.

"Almost every day, we hear about the congestion families and businesses face along this stretch," said Transportation Minister Ric McIver. "This project will alleviate congestion, improve travel times for Edmonton commuters and increase safety."

The 18-kilometre southwest stretch was designed to handle 40,000 cars per day. Statistics from 2018 show closer to 80,000 vehicles travelled on it daily.

McIver acknowledged that it is a valued route for both commuters and commercial traffic.

"Our government is committed to delivering infrastructure projects that are critical to supporting our growing population, jobs and the economy," McIver said.

Ward 9 Councillor Tim Cartmell celebrated the province's investment.

"This is a critical link, particularly for southwest Edmonton," Cartmell said. "For this part of the road, the additional lane is absolutely what we need."

Construction is expected to have a minimal impact on traffic. The existing shoulder will become the new lane in each direction, and a new shoulder will be constructed.

The bridges along the route were also previously designed with future widening projects in mind.

Fifteen months ago, the former NDP government promised to widen the roadway at a cost of $100 million.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to Transportation Minister Ric McIver in June to ask whether the UCP government would honour the funding promise.

At the time, McIver said the commitment was under review.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Bill Fortier