As of 7 a.m., on Friday, October 13, motorists are now able to access the 40th Avenue Interchange to the QEII.
Yesterday, during the official grand opening of the interchange, Devin Dreeshen, the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors said that there are 85,000 vehicles that travel through the area every day, including 7,000 commercial vehicles.
"Highway 2 is the original economic corridor through Alberta, and this was a long way to make sure that the province of Alberta will continue to grow and will continue to be a magnet for people wanting to move into Alberta from around the country and around the world," Minister Dreeshan said.
Airdrie Mayor, Peter Brown added that the opening of the interchange will help with traffic congestion on Yankee Valley Boulevard, a vital artery in Airdrie that is often slow-going due to vehicle volume.
"The [interchange] will significantly improve access to businesses located in the King's Heights, South Point, and Sierra Springs areas, allowing for timely movement of goods and services, as well as easier access for employees and customers... It provides more opportunities for first responders to do their amazing work to respond to critical happenings throughout our community," he said. "Investing in Airdrie is a win-win opportunity where we all benefit."
Mayor Brown also enumerated the challenges that the project faced, including inflationary pressures; and despite this, Mayor Brown underlined the project was completed on time and on budget.
"The roots of this interchange date back to 1999, when the need for the 40th Avenue partial interchange was first identified and recommended in a study commissioned by the province of Alberta. Since 2010, and most likely before my time, Airdrie's City Council and administration had been aggressively advocating for this amazing bridge to be built. There were many, many meetings, letters, different premiers, different governments, changing ministers, changing deputy ministers; many many ups and downs throughout this process - to arrive at today's very special event."
As per the first responder aspect that Mayor Brown mentioned, Fire Chief Mike Pirie, later posted on social media, elaborating on how the interchange will impact the Airdrie Fire Department.
"The Kings Heights Fire Station will now be closer than the Chinook Winds Station to those communities! We are updating the response areas with the 911 Center. Following that we will do a 6-month trial where real response data will be used to fine-tune the system," Chief Pirie wrote.
Others in attendance included Airdrie city council members, members of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, members of the city's municipal law enforcement, Airdrie RCMP, Airdrie Fire Department, City of Airdrie officials who were involved in the process, as well as both local MLAs, including Airdrie-East MLA, Angela Pitt, and Airdrie-Cochrane MLA, Peter Guthrie, currently serving as the province's Infrastructure Minister.
Minister Guthrie, expressed both gratitude to all the municipal and provincial partners that worked on the construction project, but, like many area residents, he also underlined something that has been on nearly every resident's mind since the beginning of the project.
As an area resident, who has been driving underneath this bridge, during construction, it has been slow as molasses. I am so happy that we're going to get this open and be able to get back up to speed," Minister Guthrie said. "There are a lot of opportunities here, both commercially and residentially. look forward to the opportunities that we're going to have to partner in the future."
The construction project which lasted two years, cost $65 million. It was completed on schedule.
"Your investment is not just in steel and concrete. It's an investment in our future," Mayor Brown concluded.
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