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Alberta’s first completed P3 highway project opens to traffic

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Motorists travelling in south Edmonton have a new 11-kilometre freeway option that aims to reduc...

EDMONTON, Alta. — Motorists travelling in south Edmonton have a new 11-kilometre freeway option that aims to reduce traffic congestion and provide a vital transportation link for the Edmonton region.

The southeast leg of Anthony Henday Drive extends 11 kilometres with six lanes between Highway 2 and 50th Street and four lanes between 50th Street and Highway 14. The road features 20 bridge structures, including five interchanges and no traffic lights.

“The completion of this road will ease traffic in the southeast and serves as an excellent example of partnership between the public and private sector,” said Premier Ed Stelmach. “Investing in Alberta’s highway network and in ring road infrastructure supports the province’s strong economy and helps manage Alberta’s rapid growth.”

To date, the Alberta government has contributed $800 million toward the southeast and southwest sections of Anthony Henday Drive. Using the P3 (public-private partnership) highways approach means the road has been built sooner than conventional construction and taxpayers have been protected from rising inflation costs. Anthony Henday Drive Southeast was on budget and on schedule.

Macquarie Essential Assets Partnership (MEAP) provided financing to Access Roads Edmonton Ltd., the consortium responsible for designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the new highway.

“We are honoured to have contributed to this new highway and look forward to continuing to support Alberta’s economic growth,” said Alina Osorio, CEO of MEAP. “Anthony Henday Drive Southeast is an excellent example of how P3 projects can build critical infrastructure projects on time, on budget and at a significantly lower risk for taxpayers.”

Based on the success of the Anthony Henday Drive Southeast P3 project, the provincial government is following the same P3 process for the Calgary Northeast Ring Road, currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2009, and the northern leg of Anthony Henday Drive, expected to be open by 2011.

“One of the City of Edmonton’s key priorities is the swift completion of Anthony Henday Drive. We are pleased that the province supports this priority and Edmonton is happy to do our part as well on this project,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “The completion of Anthony Henday Drive reinforces Edmonton’s position as the service hub for northern development and meets the transportation needs of our citizens and the entire capital region.”

Anthony Henday Drive Southeast will be fully open to traffic by 8 a.m. on Oct. 23, weather permitting. With the opening of the southeast leg, the ring road extends 50 kilometres and is 63% complete.

The southeast ring road project was cost-shared by the province and the federal government through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

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