Chronically clogged Cochrane intersection to be replaced with $50M interchange

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Chronically clogged Cochrane intersection to be replaced with $50M interchange

The province is going to spend up to $50 million on a new interchange to get traffic moving at one of the most frustratingly slow intersections in southern Alberta.

Anyone who goes through Cochrane to get on Highway 1A to get to the mountains has probably sat through several lights before getting across Highway 22 at the northwestern edge of town.

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The project includes twinning Highway 1A under a twinned Highway 22 bridge over the CPR main railway line, new ramp access to both highways and a new bridge over Big Hill Creek on Highway 1A.

"It's a badly needed piece of infrastructure that will really improve the lives of the people who live in and around the town of Cochrane," said Transportation Minister Brian Mason.

"It's really important for trade, for business, and it will help develop the economy. And it's going to create jobs as well."

A 2-year project

Mason estimated the cost of the interchange will be $40 million to $50 million.

An engineering consultant will be selected by the summer. Once design work has been done, construction could start in fall 2019, he said.

The project is expected to take about two years.

"The difference will be night and day. That intersection is an absolute nightmare on a long weekend," said Cochrane Mayor Ivan Brooker.

"We want people to come to our area. We want people to come to Cochrane and experience everything we got going for us."

Brooker also praised the NDP government for working quickly to approve the new interchange.

"Some people think that this has taken a long time, which it has. But it has not been a long time necessarily for this ministry and this government," he said. 

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