While no firm construction time frame has been established, the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange project is going ahead and has been expanded to allow for another turning lane from the Sunset neighbourhood.
Late last night, Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie confirmed the green light has been given to the interchange project, bringing to end months of speculation.
"I have confirmation that the 1A-22 intersection is going ahead," said Guthrie, phoning on his way home from Edmonton.
"The Town of Cochrane, Mayor Jeff Genung and I have been lobbying hard. We know how important this is to our community, and I'm really happy that we can bring this home."
When the budget came down late yesterday afternoon, it was unclear if the project was going ahead.
"I was frantically trying to find the information," says Guthrie. "Finally, I went over to the minister's office and asked him.
"He told me we're going ahead. Later, he texted me the capital plan list, and I was able to confirm we are on there."
"To deliver on this feels SO good," says Guthrie, "I'm happy for our community."
"I'm happy for the support that we've received from the minister and the Town of Cochrane. Our mayor has done a terrific job, too, in bringing this to the forefront."
The decision to stay the course with the project comes in a time of restraint. The Kenney government slashed $1 billion worth of capital projects.
"It goes to show you how much of a concern this is for our government," says Guthrie.
He is uncertain of the timeline. Currently, negotiations are underway for a pipeline right-of-way and some further archeological digs need to be completed, he explains.
Less than two hours before Guthrie called, Mayor Jeff Genung remained confident that good news was coming.
"I'm optimistic that it's there," he told CochraneNow, "but until I have real confirmation in writing I won't be popping open any champagne bottles," he said.
He can do it now.
Genung was also pleased to see Hwy 1A improvements west of Cochrane through the Stoney Nakoda Nation listed as a budget item.
"That's a good thing," says Genung. "That highway to the west of us is dangerous and it has been on the books for a long time. I think this is a good move for the entire region."
A Sept. 30 press conference on upgrading Hwy. 1A from Cochrane to Canmore was postponed due to a brutal snowstorm.
More details are expected to be released in the near future.