Yesterday the Alberta government announced details of the proposed budget for 2015, which includes information about the two remaining portions of the Calgary Ring Road. As a cost-cutting measure, the West Calgary Ring Road is being delayed by four years, and construction is now slated to begin in 2020/2021. Expected completion of this leg, and ultimately the entire ring road, will not occur until 2024/2025, and the measure is expected to defer a reported $1.5 billion from the current budget time-frame. The Southwest Calgary Ring Road, the portion that runs through the Tsuut’ina Nation reserve, remains unaffected. Work will begin on this leg of the road once the Tsuut’ina land transfer has been approved and once a contract has been tendered and awarded, with construction expected to begin next year. The agreement signed between the Nation and the Province in 2013 commits the Province to open the Southwest portion of the road within 7 years of the land transfer, and the opening is estimated to occur in 2020. The 2015 budget allocates $2.9 billion over the next 5 years towards the construction of Alberta’s ring roads. This figure includes funds needed to complete Edmonton’s Anthony Henday Drive as well as beginning work on the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (interestingly referred to as ‘Southwest Stoney Trail’ in the Province’s 5-year Capital Plan despite a promised name change as the road crosses through former Tsuut’ina reserve lands).
3 thoughts on “Budget 2015 and the Ring Road”
Sad that our provincial government thinks that a ring road is more important than building a new P3 cancer facility.
Too bad that they also don’t care about access for essential services for people living south of the ring road (22x) as they are closing 24 street and 37 street and providing one access by spruce meadows for 3 communities, spruce meadows as well as the MD of Foothills’ residence.
How do you think the new government change will affect the project, if at all?
It is of course hard to speculate on how the project will be handled by a new Government.
Rachel Notley did not take a definitive stance on the Calgary Ring Road in the course of the 2015 election campaign, though about 10 days ago she is quoted in relation to the ring road project as saying ““In principle we are adopting the capital funding envelope and the vast majority of the commitments that the [Progressive] Conservatives have already adopted so you’d see us being in line with what’s already in the budget.” (Calgary Herald, April 29 2015, “Wildrose Leader Brian Jean promises to finish Calgary ring road by 2021”)
Earlier in January, Notley is also quoted as saying ““If you do move ahead with infrastructure when the economy slows, you can do it less expensively… You may take on debt in the short term but you will be able to construct at a time when costs are low… Projects should be continued, not abandoned.” (Calgary Herald, January 14 2015, “Southwest ring road construction up in the air”).
Until a specific plan or budget is unveiled, it is difficult to say with certainty about the status of the project, but given the economic and political costs for delaying the SW portion of the road, I would speculate that the project will continue as previously planned. All indicators at this time seem to point to a continuation of the previous Government’s commitment and schedule.