A tripartite grant program will help the Town of Ponoka to remove a long-standing project off its books.
Mayor Larry Henkelman announced July 3 the town will share the cost with the federal and provincial governments to finally tackle the 50th Street rehabilitation project.
The governments of Canada and Alberta will each invest up to $842,533 and the Town of Ponoka will contribute the balance of the total eligible project cost of more than $2.5 million. The grants come from the Building Canada Fund.
“The objective of this project is to re-route our heavy truck traffic and dangerous goods from residential areas in our community, to Highway 2A,” Henkelman explained.
A transportation study identified 50th Street north to Highway 2A as a major truck route, he said. The grant will allow for construction of a “safe and efficient” intersection of 50th Street with Highway 2A.
Henkelman said the new road north of 57th Street will have proper acceleration and deceleration lanes, turning bays “in a manner which would allow for a fully synchronized intersection,” bringing the road up to current standards.
In an interview, the mayor said the new railway crossing at 57th Street is part of this project and is nearly complete.
While this project has been an accepted plan for about 20 years, funding had been a stumbling block, Henkelman said. “This grant funding has allowed this to go ahead.
“It wasn’t until new development in the industrial park came along that the need was there.”
Construction will begin this fall and be completed within a year.
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins said this co-operative project shows what can be achieved when government and communities work together.
“In these challenging economic times, the governments of Canada and Alberta are partnering with local municipalities to create jobs and build stronger and brighter futures for Alberta communities.”
Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins said more than 73 projects across the province will get underway quickly, thanks to a joint federal-provincial investment of more than $227 million. The governments of Canada and Alberta have taken steps to advance projects and flow money faster for targeted infrastructure projects in Alberta communities in the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons.
“We’ve got to reduce red tape,” he said. “We’ve got to get the money out the door and make sure it has the stimulus effect and a positive effect.”
The 50th Street project will create a safer road and provide a safe means of moving truck traffic and dangerous good through Ponoka for years to come, Calkins said. “Residents will notice the positive effects of these improvements and they will have a great impact on their day-to-day lives.”
“Now, more than ever, we have to invest in quality infrastructure because we are going to emerge from this global economic recession. Canada will emerge from this stronger and better positioned than any other country in the G7.”