The City of Sparwood will be starting the construction of a new set of lights and a pedestrian tunnel at the Sparwood Highway 3-43 intersection, no later than April 16.
This has been a work in progress for quite some time, and was originally proposed to meet future demands and safety.
“Given the importance of Highway 3 for linking British Columbia and Alberta, and providing access for the numerous workers for the coal mines along Highway 43, it is vital that this intersection be kept up-to-date in regards to safety as well as improved upon to meet the demands of future development in the Sparwood region,” said Sparwood Director of Engineering, Danny Dwyer in a press release.
The early stages of construction started three years ago with the Earthworks and Deep Utility Installation in June of 2014. This consisted of earthworks and site grading, water main installation, sanitary sewer installation, water main mechanical building construction (small building to the left of Tim Hortons), water main hotbox, storm sewer installation, topsoil placement and seeding.
The first phase of construction was completed one year later in June of 2015. The District of Sparwood originally had plans to complete this intersection in 2015, however construction costs escalated and the District was forced to seek the support of senior governments, while looking for ways to reduce costs.
At approximately $7.5 million in total costs, the District applied for a series of grants.
The District of Sparwood applied for the first round of the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (NBCF-SCF) grant in February of 2015, but was unsuccessful.
They then applied for the second round of funding in April of 2016, under the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (NBCF-SFC) for an amount of $8,805,480.
They were successful in this, and received $5,117,466 from Federal and Provincial governments. Municipal contributions were $2,558,734 plus the cost of in-kind materials amounting to $1,129,280.
“With the assistance of federal and provincial funding, the District of Sparwood is now able to proceed and honour our commitments to complete it,” said Dwyer, who added the District is grateful for the support from senior government.
Work will commence no later than the middle of April, starting with tree clearing and access road construction for the relocation of overhead BC Hydro power lines.
Other work includes road construction in Middletown Place, intersection improvements and traffic lights for the Highway 3/43 Middletown and Aspen Highway 43 intersections.
A pedestrian tunnel under Highway 3 will be installed, exiting between ESSO and Husky service stations onto a newly constructed Spruce Spur. Sidewalks with pedestrian signals will be constructed along Aspen Drive from Spruce Spur to Tim Hortons and along Highway 43 up to Highway 3.
Construction is estimated to be completed by the end of fall in 2018.
“That’s huge news for us,” said Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall.
“(We wanted) A better intersection for Highway 3 and 43, for all the traffic that heads north to the mines, to Elkford and all the through traffic. The amount of traffic that comes through there is phenomenal,” he said.