The Government of Alberta announced it has cancelled a public-private partnership (P3) approach to upgrade Deerfoot Trail in Calgary, opting to procure the improvements in smaller pieces.

“While the government is not going ahead with a P3 approach, we remain committed to making improvements to Alberta’s busiest highway and will move ahead with the necessary upgrades to help people get to their destinations safely and more efficiently,” said Minister of Transportation Prasad Panda.

“We will focus on improving the most congested areas on the highway first to improve traffic flow and reduce travel times for commuters in the Calgary region. Work is underway to identify the most critical areas for improvement that can be tendered and completed as quickly as possible.”

In a 2020 safety audit of the road, the province identified several priority areas to be upgraded to increase both the safety and usability of Deerfoot Trail:

  •  Twinning Ivor Strong Bridge;
  •  Improving Anderson Road/Bow Bottom Trail Interchange;
  •  Twinning the bridge over Glenmore Trail;
  •  Reconfiguring the 17 Avenue S.E. and Memorial Drive Interchanges and eliminating weaving traffic; and
  •  Widening between 17 Avenue S.E. and Airport Trail to four lanes in each direction.

The province planned to complete that work using a public-private partnership (P3) funding model, but recently announced it was scrapping that plan because it would cost taxpayers too much money.

“Current economic conditions have resulted in pricing volatility and historically high inflation in the construction industry, which means a P3 approach to Deerfoot Trail improvements is not economically viable,” added Panda, who added changing the funding process will also change the manner, and likely the timeline in which work is completed.

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“So instead of doing one P3, from south to north, including the road expansion and the bridges, we’re going to split it into smaller packages.”

Featured image: (City of Calgary)

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