The traffic headache of the Highway 1A and Highway 22 intersection through Cochrane got one step closer to being remedied this week. Transportation Minister Ric McIver, announced that the 2019 provincial budget will include $4.4 billion to build and repair highways across the province.
The good news is that $65 million is allocated for the Highway 1A and Highway 22 interchange in Cochrane.
Mayor Jeff Genung is becoming more and more optimistic that the project may soon become a reality. He feels that now that the provincial government has "officially announced the line item in the budget and given it a dollar amount, it's a giant step forward."
The project is estimated to cost between $65 million to $75 million and will include:
- expanding Highway 1A to 4 lanes (2 lanes in each direction) from east of Big Hill Creek to west of Highway 22
- eliminating the existing Highway 1A traffic signal on Highway 22
- 2 new bridges over Big Hill Creek with removal of the existing bridge
- replacing the Highway 22 Canadian Pacific Railway overpass to accommodate the new interchange ramps
- a new overpass to carry Highway 22 over Highway 1A
- new interchange ramps to connect the 2 highways
Adding to his optimism is Mayor Genung's feeling that:
"...this is in the beginning of the UCP term the fact that they are coming out and being bold with this announcement. If it was at the tail-end of their term, I would look at it as a campaign ploy. But, the fact that it's coming early in their term, I really feel like they are going to follow through and get this built."
The intersection at Highway 1A and Highway 22 sees an average of more than 27,000 vehicles a day. These numbers are also expected to increase significantly over the coming years.