The stretch of Highway 11 between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House is being twinned as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
It was announced the 66-kilometre stretch of the David Thompson Highway will undergo the $120 million project on the morning of July 17 at Foothills Energy Services Ltd.
Premier Jason Kenney was joined by Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation; Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks and Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture, as well as Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre and Mayor Tammy Burke from Rocky Mountain House.
“The twinning of Highway 11 is one of the many project’s that’s part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan that will get Albertans back to work and this project will kick start our local economy here in Sylvan Lake,” said Dreeshen, who is also the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.
The project is expected to create nearly 600 direct and indirect jobs.
Alberta’s recovery Plan is focused on agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, and tourism with the strategy set to benefit from infrastructure investments like the David Thompson Highway twinning, explained Dreeshen in his opening remarks.
“Many Albertans know about Sylvan Lake’s amazing beaches,” said Kenney, “… but that’s really just the start of the amazing [David] Thompson Highway experience.”
“There’s a great line from a movie and a novel, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ well we are building it and they will continue to come in bigger numbers.”
He explained there is “enormous potential” to expand all economic drivers in the area and Highway 11 is the backbone to support it.
Planning and design work for the project is starting immediately with construction beginning next year using a sectional phased approach.
Transportation Minister McIver says the project does three things and building the tourism industry is one of them.
The twinning also improves safety, which is the number one priority in transportation, and ensures the local industry so businesses in the area can easily get goods and commodities here and out, explained McIver.
“Twinning the David Thompson Highway shares in what Alberta has to offer and I’m excited about it,” he added.
Nixon, who also serves as MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, says the upgrades are a “win/win” for Albertans and the corridor between Rocky Mountain House and Sylvan Lake.
McIntyre says he and the Town is excited about the positive impact it will bring to the region.
“We’ve experienced what the twinning of Highway 11 from Red Deer to Sylvan Lake did for our community in terms of accessibility, safety and increased opportunities,” said McIntyre addressing the crowd. “The twinning of Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House is yet another step in our province’s continued growth.”
Updates to the intersection at 781 and Highway 11 entering Sylvan Lake are also included in the project, which he says, is something they are looking forward to.
There are no plans as to what the improvements will look like as of yet, but McIntyre says it will help the business community as well as increase flow help visitors access the town.
The project is part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure planning in Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
Additionally, Minister McIver says the frost heaves along the west-bound lane of Highway 11 between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake are being looked at in terms of making improvements in the future.