It was built surrounded by some controversy regarding the exact route and funding, but it is here today and now we have the issue of how to expand it to the road it was designed to be.
Expanding Ray Gibbon Drive to safely and effectively move goods and people and supporting the economy is a priority of mine!
Alberta Transportation and the City of St. Albert completed an overall functional
study in September 2008. In order to widen the existing RGD from two lanes to a freeway, we will require interchanges at 137th Avenue, McKenney, Giroux and Villeneuve. Eventually, the province will assume the responsibility of this freeway and extend it north of St. Albert to connect with Highway 2.
In 2015 it was estimated this would cost $254.3 million and that does not include an overpass of the CN railway line. That is obviously a significant amount of money and beyond our capacity to borrow. So while some candidates may put the twinning of Ray Gibbon on their platform it is very important to understand how difficult if not impossible that is for our mid-sized city to do alone.
But we don’t have to do it alone:
I have two approaches to this issue.
- Most of my campaign platform has been about relationships. Building positive relationships will allow the Mayor of St. Albert to not only lobby the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board to keep propelling RGD drive higher and higher on their priority list (we are currently #5) but also advocate the province to fulfill their responsibility, take ownership of the road and move it to a funded infrastructure project. My time working in the region and on the Albert Urban Municipalities Assoc. has opened the doors needed to talk to ministers in the province.
- We may have to widen RGD in stages. If we can not do it all at once I believe that twinning from Anthony Hendey to Leclaire Way should be done soon. It is here where the traffic counts are highest and the bottle neck occurs.
This is an urgent need for St. Albert. it will improve the safety and frustration of the drivers, it will allow access to the industrial lands to the west and give future development confidence that goods can be moved. It will benefit the whole region and requires regional collaboration to get it built.