The new southeast leg of Calgary's ring road is now open to traffic after a nearly two-month delay.
All revisions to the contract that were required have been completed, said Parker Hogan, spokesperson for Alberta Transportation.
The opening was originally scheduled for Oct. 1 but the contractor missed the deadline.
"Calgary's growing, all of Alberta's growing due to our strong economy, and Deerfoot is overburdened with the sheer volume of traffic," said Alberta's transportation minister, Ric McIver.
"Welcome to probably 20 minutes more of sleep for a whole lot more Albertans, or an extra cup of coffee or a little more time with the kids before school."
Alberta Transportation says the road will likely be open for the Friday afternoon rush hour following a media event in the morning.
The $769 million project, which stretches 25 kilometres and extends Stoney Trail past Peigan Trail to Highway 22x, has taken three years to build.
The six-lane expressway has nine interchanges, 27 bridge structures and three flyovers — two for rail, one for motorists. It brings Calgary's ring road to 70 kilometres in length.
A $70,000 fine was levied against Chinook Roads Partnership for each day past the missed deadline.
That's a total of $3.64 million for the 52-day delay.
Last leg to go ahead
"Right now it's a horseshoe road. It's a very nice horseshoe road, but a ring road has to be a ring,” said McIver.
Last month Tsuu T’ina First Nation members voted to allow the southwest — and final — leg of the ring road to be constructed through their reserve.
That section will stretch from Highway 22x to Highway 8 just west of the city's edge on First Nation territory and then continue north using the 101st Street corridor up to the Trans-Canada Highway.
Marilyn Gloer of Lethbridge, says he's excited for road to finally open.
"Our two reasons for coming to Calgary are either to come visit our grandson or to fly out of Calgary," he says.
"It will cut the travel time to the airport and don't have to use the Deerfoot."