By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The transportational divide between commuters that travel from Taber to Lethbridge and commuters that travel from Taber to Medicine Hat will soon come to an end.
At the post-budget roundtable Travis Toews held last week, the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance talked about how Alberta has budgeted three years of investment to ensure that Highway 3 is fully twinned.
“Highway 3 is a high priority for this government,” said Toews. “Back in summer of 2020 we announced the twinning of Highway 3 as one of our economic recovery projects, and that was the area Taber to Burdett. There’s been about $30 million spent on that project in this current fiscal year. There is another $30 million set aside for ’23-’24, and then $48 million for ’24-’25. Now in ’25-’26 we have a further $15 million set aside for the twinning of Highway 3.”
Toews emphasized how the government knows that it is a pain spot for one of Alberta’s major industries.
“We know that, that twinning project is going to be a multi-year project. We know that it makes sense to start twinning on the highest priority areas, and again we started with the section between Burdett and Taber because that section is critical to the agriculture manufacturing food processing sector. The plan is to continue twinning that highway to eventually have a twin from end to end.”
Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter told Southern Alberta Newspapers he expects the project to be putting shovels in the ground by spring 2023.
“I talked to the transportation minister (Devin Dreeshen), he assured me that we’re going to see the ground torn up this spring. Locally, they say everything’s moving along.”
Potential inflation impacts on cost estimates have been a headache, according to Hunter, but the project is still expected to be on budget.
“It’s always a little concerning, because of the supply chain issues, with inflation, are we going to be able to make it on that, on the money that we set aside? They’re going to do it. That’s always a concern, right? But we’re on time, we’re on budget. So that’s exciting.”