Alberta’s NDP government is committing to complete Calgary’s ring road.
Premier Rachel Notley and Transportation Minister Brian Mason will announce that the province is going ahead with construction of the west — and final — leg of the ring road in Calgary at an event on Thursday with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, according to a source.
“This is obviously hugely anticipated because it will finish the ring road,” said the source.
The west leg of the ring road is a nine-kilometre stretch connecting Highway 8 and the Trans-Canada Highway. The specific funding commitment will not be unveiled Thursday because there will be a competitive tendering process, but the government hopes to begin construction next year.
In 2015, the then-Progressive Conservative government deferred work on the west leg of the ring road out of budget consideration, saying at the time it would save $1.5 billion. Work had been originally slated to start in 2017 and finish in 2021, but the start date was pushed back to 2021 with completion anticipated in 2024 or 2025.
The province is currently in the midst of construction on the southwest ring road.
That $1.4-billion project is slated to be completed by 2021. Under its land swap agreement with the Tsuut’ina Nation, work must be done by May of 2022 or the land reverts back to the First Nation.
In contrast, the west leg of the ring road is to be done on land that has long been owned by the province. The west leg is needed to prevent problems with four lanes of traffic spilling onto existing roads such as Glenmore and Sarcee trails.
When finished, the entire Calgary ring road system is intended to be “101 km of free-flow travel.”
The announcement comes just before the start of the Calgary Stampede, where Notley has made significant infrastructure announcements in the past. Last year, she announced $1.53 billion for the Green Line LRT.