Cardiff Corner on indefinite hold
Provincial budget won't provide interchange construction before 2016
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 05:30 pm
The Cardiff Corner interchange is on indefinite hold thanks to the provincial budget crunch, says the province’s transportation department.
Finance Minister Doug Horner tabled the 2013-2014 provincial budget last week. Included in it was the proposed three-year construction program for Alberta Transportation.
Not included in the program was the interchange at Cardiff Road and Highway 2 south of Morinville – a high-traffic location that’s notorious for collisions.
“It means there is no funding for it and that it will not be proceeding in the next three years as of today’s date,” explained Parker Hogan, press secretary for Transportation Minister Ric McIver.
Morinville Coun. Lisa Holmes first learned of the delay last week in a Twitter conversation with Hogan. Neither she nor Mayor Paul Krauskopf could be reached by press time.
Originally announced in 2011, this roughly $38 million interchange was supposed to have been built this year, but stalled in 2012 due to land acquisition issues.
The department had to make some tough decisions given this year’s tight budget, Hogan said, and the Cardiff interchange “lagged behind” other projects in terms of urgency.
“That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen,” he added. “What it means is that at this point, we don’t have the capital to do it.”
This interchange is one of a number of important projects across the province, he said, and the province always has more projects on the books than it can afford to build in a given year. The department decided this one could be deferred.
Hogan would not speculate as to when the project might get going again, and was not sure if any work needed to be done to secure the construction site for the next three years.
Last November, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec told Morinville town council that the interchange was her top priority, and that Transportation told her it would be going ahead in 2013.
Kubinec said she was “very disappointed” by this development.
“I’m not happy about it either,” she said. “It’s part of this tough budget where everyone’s feeling some pain.”
The Cardiff interchange is still her top capital priority, Kubinec added, and she plans to keep lobbying for it.
“It is still seen as a necessary build, just not within the next three years,” she said.
Hogan confirmed that upgrades to the intersection of highways 44 and 633 near Villeneuve are in the three-year construction plan. Those upgrades are needed if the province is to use Villeneuve Airport as its backup medevac site.
The three-year construction plan is contingent on final legislature approval of the budget. Budget documents can be found at budget2013.alberta.ca, with the proposed construction program available at /www.transportation.alberta.ca/614.htm.