The town of Cochrane, just northwest of Calgary, officially broke ground on a project that will widen and streamline a common traffic bottleneck on Highway 1A.
The transformation will focus on the area from the base of the hill east of Centre Avenue to the west of Fifth Avenue.
Eventually, this stretch will connect to a provincial interchange project planned at the intersection of Highways 1A and 22.
Residents like Alfred Munnich say this stretch of Highway 1A should have been upgraded years ago.
"It's about time," he said of the groundbreaking on Friday.
Plans include widening the highway, adding turning lanes and including a multi-use pathway and sidewalk.
Ric McIver, Alberta's transportation minister, says the project aligns with the province's plans to build an interchange at Highways 1A and 22, just a little further to the west.
"Just standing here, it's pretty obvious the traffic congestion is immense, it's pretty obvious that it's needed," he said.
The work should be completed by fall of 2022.
Work on Highway 1A within Cochrane will cost $13.8 million — $3.48 million coming from a provincial grant while the rest is a combination of borrowed and reserve money from the Town of Cochrane.