Alberta Transportation minister Ric McIver had some encouraging words for Mayor Jeff Genung during a June 23 meeting in Edmonton.
"Jeff, don't worry, this is getting built."
Mayor Genung met with the minister to get the official word on when construction of the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange will begin. He also presented a proposal for the town to oversee upgrades to the Hwy. 1A-Centre Ave. corridor as a cost-shared project.
McIver reiterated what has been previously stated by Aircrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie, who also attended the meeting.
The project is on budget. Its final design is contingent upon finalizing an archeological dig on the Cochrane Ranche and reaching pipeline right-of-way agreements. Once the design is finalized, the project will go to tender.
The pipeline right-away agreement, in particular, could have a major impact on the final design.
"They haven't finalized that yet, so they don't know if that will impact the design and ultimately the timeline," says Genung.
While reassured, Mayor Genung told the minister that the people of Cochrane are anxious to see shovels in the ground.
Those curious as to the exact discussion will soon be able to soon view a video of the meeting, says Mayor Genung.
"We did shoot a video together. He's going to be releasing that from his office in the next couple of days."
Genung also presented a proposal for the town to design and construct Hwy. 1A and Centre Ave. corridor improvements. He believes it's a significant shift from the typical approach of waiting for the province to do it.
"That's something we haven't done in the past. I'm really pleased and encouraged that we're taking this stance.
The town's share of the project would be from off-site levies, although he believes the town would have to initially front the money.
Genung hopes to have a follow-up meeting with the minister in about a month.
"It's my hope that we can get it started next spring and provide a good alternative route for people to use for coming off the bridge and to serve as a detour during the 1A and 22 construction."