Province gives $120M to upgrade Terwillegar Drive in southwest Edmonton

Premier Jason Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu are announcing major infrastructure upgrades in Edmonton, including expansion of Terwillegar Drive, as part of Alberta's Recovery Plan.

Terwillegar Drive will be expanded to eight lanes between Whitemud and Anthony Henday

The proposal to expand Terwillegar Drive in southwest Edmonton has been discussed for 40 years. (David Bajer/CBC)

The Alberta government will spend $120 million to complete upgrades on Terwillegar Drive that will expand the west-Edmonton commuter road to four lanes in each direction.

Premier Jason Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu made the announcement Wednesday at a news conference that was shifted indoors due to rainy weather.

The provincial funding allows the city to expand Terwillegar Drive south from Rabbit Hill Road across the Anthony Henday, and build a second overpass across the Henday to Windermere Boulevard.

Madu, who drives the road in his daily commute downtown, said southwest residents have been waiting a long time for the expansion. 

"As a parent who drives this road every single day to take my children to school and to go to work, I know how bad the situation has become," he said, noting that 40,000 vehicles use Terwillegar Drive every weekday. 
Kaycee Madu, Alberta's minister of Municipal Affairs, said upgrades to Terwillegar Drive are long overdue. (CBC)

Coun. Tim Cartmell, who attended the news conference, said it was terrific news for residents of southwest Edmonton. He has been trying to push the project ahead since he was elected in 2017.

"The transportation system in southwest Edmonton was woefully inadequate," Cartmell said at the news conference. "We had been — and continue to be — the fastest growing part of Edmonton, and yet we'd seen the least amount of infrastructure investment over the years to service that growth."

In December, city council approved $102 million for Phase 1 of the project, to expand the north part of the road from Rabbit Hill Road to the Whitemud. 

That phase of the project included intersection improvements, a designated lane for rapid transit in each direction and a shared-use path on the east side of Terwillegar Drive.

Cartmell noted that the provincial funding will also help build a second bridge over the Henday. 

"This is in essence one of the last pieces of the puzzle," he said. 


Janet Riopel, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, said the project is a great business investment for the entire metropolitan region. 

"It's been a really long time coming," Riopel said. 

The expansion will help ease bottlenecks and commutes and boost traffic flows along one of the largest trade corridors, she said. 

Kenney said the project will create 865 jobs as part of the Alberta's economic recovery program during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That's an injection of much-needed stimulus into the economy by creating hundreds of new well-paying jobs, Riopel said.

"With COVID-19 continuing to absolutely hammer businesses and families, this is exactly the kind of investment we need right now — focused, targeted and really strategic infrastructure spending." 

Construction on the Terwillegar Drive upgrades is expected to begin in 2021.


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