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Feds fulfill pledge of $583 million for Calgary ring road

(Lucas Meyer - 660 NEWS)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fulfilled a promise on the Calgary ring road project, one the previous Conservative government made during the last federal campaign.

Trudeau announced $582.9 million in federal funding for the southwest portion of the massive project on Friday in Calgary, joined by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Tsuut’ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney.

Last summer during the federal campaign, the previous Conservative government made the same promise, announced by former cabinet minister and now current PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney.

“I want to be very clear that the news we are sharing today, while very important to the city of Calgary and the people who live here is new, it’s not something you’ll be hearing about for the very first time,” Trudeau said, referencing the Conservative promise. “I am happy to announce that our government will be moving ahead with this project.”

Trudeau said the government has completed all reviews and the project has met all requirements and conditions for funding.

“Early work on the southwest Calgary ring road is now underway,” he said.

The Alberta Government is planning for the portion to be complete by 2021 and will mark the 90 per cent completion mark of Stoney Trail as a whole, leaving only the West Calgary portion.

However, the overall price of the complete project is still unknown as the NDP is waiting for three building groups to submit their bids.

There are still many questions around the west portion and Notley said there’s no new update.

“Our Minister of Transportation is the one that is seized of that matter and is working very hard on getting all the details worked out and I look forward to getting a report from him on that, so I have nothing new to add on it,” she said.

The west leg is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Once complete, the road will include 49 bridges, three river crossings, a flyover and 31 kilometres of six and eight-lane divided roadway to reduce congestion in Calgary’s south.

It’s expected to reduce travel times and increase traffic flow for tourists visiting national parks.

Nenshi said it’s a major commitment to a project that has been 70 years in the making.

“Finishing the Calgary ring road and particularly finishing the southwest corner of the Calgary ring road makes our city work better,” Nenshi said, adding it increases mobility and social inclusion, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Whitney said the road will be critical for the nation.

“Investment into our community, investment into the city of Calgary that comes exactly when Calgary is in need of it,” he said.