Many Cochrane residents frustrated by traffic congestion will be circling Dec. 16 on their calendar.

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie has confirmed Alberta Transportation minister Devin Dreeshen is scheduled to be at The Station on Friday morning to announce the long-anticipated construction of the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange.

Three weeks ago, Kevin Lee, ministerial assistant to Dreeshan, told Cochrane Now that an announcement was coming, and it's now just days away.

The interchange project was originally announced by NDP Transportation minister Brian Mason in April 2017. Since then there have been delays in finalizing the finer details of the project, including the last stumbling block of reaching a right-of-way agreement with pipeline companies impacted by the development.

Mayor Ivan Brooker got the much-needed project approved before he was ousted from office that fall. He was constantly knocking at the minister's door, lobbying for its completion.

"The difference will be night and day," said Brooker upon its approval. "That intersection is an absolute nightmare on a long weekend."

With Cochrane's rapid growth these past five years, it's now a daily exercise in frustration.

Mayor Jeff Genung and the current council continued to press for its completion and worked with successive Transportation ministers to add pieces to the project in order to improve traffic flow into Sunset Ridge and through town on Hwy. 1A.

Last June, then Transportation minister Ric McIver announced Alberta Transportation would continue to twin the lanes of Hwy. 1A from 1st St. W. by the Totem Building west to the starting point of the future Hwy. 1A-22 interchange project. Estimated to be a $9-million project, it will complement work currently nearing completion on the major artery in a joint town-province venture.

Twinning the lanes of Hwy. 22 north from the interchange to Sunset Ridge was estimated to be a $10 million project when announced by the provincial government last November, with the town contributing $1.2 million through the federal gas tax fund. 

Melcor Developments, of Sunset Ridge, is also financially contributing to the project.