Alberta gets serious about ring road completion

CALGARY — There will be no more beating around the bush when it comes to Calgary’s ring road project, as the Alberta government took the initial steps toward building the southeast leg of the ring road.

The government will use its public-private partnership (P3) model to extend Stoney Trail from 17 Avenue SE to the east side of the existing Macleod Trail interchange. A request for qualifications (RFQ), which is the model’s first step, has just been issued and should take approximately three months.

“The P3 process has been very successful for other portions of the Calgary and Edmonton ring roads and I’m confident the process will work for this project,” said Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation. “A P3 allows a project to be built more quickly than through conventional delivery and government is guaranteed a fixed price and delivery date.”

Whoever wins out in the bidding process will be responsible for the project’s design, construction, financing, and operation for 30 years. The proponent would recoup these costs through equal payments from government over 30 years once the road opens to traffic. The province also receives a 30-year warranty on the work.

The successful contractor is expected to start construction in spring 2010 and finish by fall 2013.

“Hundreds of thousands of people living in southeast Calgary have told us mobility is a priority and this mega project delivers for them,” said Calgary Mayor David Bronconnier.

The potentially billion-dollar project involves 25 kilometres of six-lane roadway, nine interchanges, two flyover railway crossings and 29 total bridge structures.

The roadway’s main line will be completely free-flow and have no traffic lights. If built through the P3 process, the road would be finished two years earlier than through conventional delivery, predicts the provincial government.

As well as beginning the RFQ process for the southeast portion, Minister Oullette noted that a tentative deal has been reached with the Tsuu T’ina First Nation, which will bring the southwest portion of the ring road – and the final piece – closer to construction.

— with files from the Calgary Herald

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