Province announces SE ring road, revs up for SW portion
The province believes the southeast leg of Calgary's ring road will be completed by 2013, and the long-awaited southwest portion is almost ready to go, pending an imminent land agreement with the Tsuu T'ina First Nation.
A public-private partnership will be used to extend Stony Trail from 17th Avenue S.E. to the east side of the existing Macleod Trail interchange, Alberta Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette announced Monday.
The six-lane divided highway would run 25 kilometres with no traffic lights from Chapparal Boulevard to Highway 1A. It will connect Highway 22X along 84th to 17th Avenue and include nine interchanges, two flyover railway crossings and 29 total bridge structures, said the province.
That leaves the southwest portion, planned from Glenmore Trail to 22X on the western edge of Calgary, still to be confirmed. Both the city and the province have been talking about roads through the land with the First Nation for more than 50 years.
Ouellette says an agreement is imminent.
'There is no question that both the province and the Tsuu T'ina are optimistic, and are motivated to successfully conclude this negotiation.'—Chief Sandford Big Plume
"They just got a draft agreement that went to both parties, and we'll see if there's any changes or anything that needs to be done," he said at a news conference Monday.
"Just the odd little wording changes, and we'll hopefully be getting a deal."
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Tsuu T'ina Chief Sandford Big Plume acknowledged that a draft agreement has been reached.
"While there are outstanding legal issues, those are relatively minor in the context of what has been a very complex and multi-jurisdictional negotiation," he said. "There is no question that both the province and the Tsuu T'ina are optimistic, and are motivated to successfully conclude this negotiation."
Big Plume said he is looking forward to bringing the final agreement to his people for approval "at the earliest possible opportunity."
Southeast portion to be built by public-private partnership
The province will put the southeast leg out to tender, which will take about three months, to companies who will vie to design, construct, finance and operate the road for 30 years.
"The P3 process has been very successful for other portions of the Calgary and Edmonton ring roads and I'm confident the process will work for this project," said Ouellette.
The province is hoping construction will start in spring of 2010 and that the southeast leg will be open by the fall of 2013.
"Hundreds of thousands of people living in southeast Calgary have told us mobility is a priority and this mega-project delivers for them," said Calgary Mayor David Bronconnier in a statement.
The province said the southeast ring road will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but would shave two years off the timeline by being built through a public-private agreement rather than a conventional public project.