BANFF, Alta. - Alberta's Infrastructure and Transportation Minister, Lyle Oberg, recently told Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) members that major infrastructure projects are in the works. B...
BANFF, Alta. – Alberta’s Infrastructure and Transportation Minister, Lyle Oberg, recently told Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) members that major infrastructure projects are in the works. But he admitted even more needs to be done – especially in the North.
“We have a 10-year plan (for the Fort McMurray region) but we all know that’s not enough. It has to be accelerated,” Oberg said. “It’s critical to the economy that we keep Fort McMurray moving. Hopefully in the next three to four months we’ll have some serious announcements.” (Days later, the province announced $530 million will be invested in projects for the region over the next 10 years.)
Oberg pointed out between $1 and $1.5 billion in upgrades are required in the Fort McMurray region, but added “I don’t have that in my budget at the moment.”
Both the Calgary and Edmonton ring roads are moving ahead, said Oberg, adding the Edmonton one may be completed this fall – a full year ahead of schedule. The province is also looking at building a bypass around St. Alberta so truckers can avoid the 23 traffic lights within the city.
Oberg also sung the praises of public-private partnerships (P3s) which he said are making it easier for the province to get infrastructure built on time and to a higher standard. The builders are honouring a 30-year warranty on the road and face stiff financial penalties if projects aren’t completed on time.
Fatigue management was also a subject touched on by Oberg, who said Alberta has led the way in researching fatigue and developing a comprehensive fatigue management approach.
“We all know tired drivers are impaired drivers. Put a tired driver at the helm of a tractor-trailer and you’re looking at a disaster waiting to happen,” Oberg said.
The province has set an ambitious goal of reducing highway deaths in the province by 30 per cent by 2010 and Oberg vowed there will be continued emphasis on improving highway safety.
Oberg also updated delegates on the alleged driver training scam the province put the brakes on earlier this spring.
“I’d love to say this was an isolated incident,” he said, adding government has no plans to get back into the role of driver examinations.
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