The $13.8 million upgrade to Hwy. 1A by the town with support from the province officially kicked off today at a roadside ceremony during typical heavy Friday morning traffic.

Transportation minister Ric McIver, MLA Peter Guthrie, Mayor Jeff Genung, Rocky View Reeve Dan Henn, and members of council all took shovels in hand and dug deep to turn the sod for the major upgrade.

"The town is committed to improving community connectivity, ensuring roads, sidewalks, bridges, bike lanes, and pathways are in place to get you where you need to go in a timely manner," said Mayor Jeff Genung. "We're very proud to be laying the foundation for one more piece of the traffic puzzle in Cochrane today, and connecting with the community."

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie said Hwy. 1A improvements continue to be both urgent and essential for both residents and visitors alike.

Rocky View County Reeve Henn called it a major step forward to improve the quality of life for everyone who uses the 1A.

The project includes:

  • widening from two lanes to four lanes
  • realignment of Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue
  • new access, parking, and turning lanes for 6th Ave. west businesses
  • improved pedestrian network with new sidewalks and paved multi-use pathways

The scope of the project expanded to include

  • utility upgrades under the highway for future needs
  • Alberta Transportation storm infrastructure requirements
  • project enhancements such as green space and roadway enhancements
  • additional Centre Avenue improvements previously planned for 2022
  • additional Centre Avenue improvements previously planned for 2022

The town project will be followed by Alberta Transportation closing the gap from 1st St. W. by the Totem Building to the starting point of the future Hwy. 1A-22 interchange project. 

McIver says the town drew attention to the gap, and it only made sense to complete the $9-million project at the same time.

"There was a short distance where the lanes were going to narrow, then widen again. I think most taxpayers would say that's ridiculous. We agree."

McIver says the design work and engineering of the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange will be completed this year, with construction beginning in 2022. He says it's in the budget and will be constructed in phases over a two-year period.

The town's project will be completed in 2022.