INNISFAIL – Getting to and from Innisfail will become a better motoring experience but that will take some time.
The 2023 provincial budget last month has set aside funding for future transportation and road improvement projects in the Innisfail and area.
However, projects that will see construction in 2023 will happen more north towards and around Red Deer, and south to Olds, and up to Bowden.
Projects closer or more directly impactful to Innisfail will start this year in the engineering and planning stages.
In an interview with the Albertan on March 10 Devin Dreeshen, the MLA for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding and the provincial minister of transportation and economic corridors, said there will be many transportation announcements his ministry will be making in the coming weeks.
“And that's part of the $8 billion dollars in capital planning spending that just came from my department alone,” he said. “There are about 350 projects that are across the entire province, but specifically within Central Alberta that means new pavements, new intersections and new roundabouts.
“That is a tremendous amount of infrastructure just being upgraded and improved, which ultimately helps people get home safer and more quickly at the end of the day.”
Although there are no construction projects slated to start this year in the Innisfail area, the ones in the engineering and planning stage include:
• Highway 2 six-lane work between Highway 590 and McKenzie Road
• Old Pole Road Flyover (Highway 2 and Twp. Rd. 362 – north side of Antler Hill)
• Highway 791 grade base and pave between Highway 590 and Highway 42
• Highway 590 improvements between east of Innisfail to Hwy. 816
Dreeshen conceded it will take a little longer time designing and expanding Hwy. 2 to six lanes from Gasoline Alley (McKenzie Road) to Innisfail but the planning will be started. He said the flyover will be done before the widening of Hwy. 2.
Outside his ministry Dreeshen was pleased the 2023 budget had more money for Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) support, the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) and food banks.
“It just goes to show the importance and the recognition of all the hard work and the good work that they (non-profits) do to help the most vulnerable in our society,” said Dreeshen.
Overall, Dreeshen said the 2023 Alberta budget, which came just over three months before the expected provincial election, proves Albertans should be optimistic that the province will continue to be the “economic engine for the entire country.
“We're seeing people move to Alberta; that they want to have opportunities here and that this budget has savings going to the Heritage Trust Fund, is paying down our provincial debt, and has massive amounts of infrastructure investment,” said Dreeshen. “It goes to show that Alberta is booming and we need to keep this momentum going.”