STONEY NAKODA (660 NEWS) – A major agreement has been signed between the province and Stoney Nakoda First Nations that would see the widening of Highway 1A.
On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney and Transportation Minister Ric McIver were joined by chiefs from the First Nations for the announcement that would see 29 kilometres of the highway widened between Cochrane and Canmore.
“Widening and upgrading will lower collision rates, but in making the highway safer and more efficient and attractive for travellers, it may also create new opportunities for investment, new businesses and new jobs for members of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation,” said Kenney.
The road hasn’t seen a significant upgrade since it was built in 1946, and the Chief of the Chiniki Nation Aaron Young says it will make communities safer.
“These children go to school in Cochrane and Canmore, and their commute is the 1A highway. For them to experience the hazards just based on the size of the road itself, it’s not safe at all.”
Premier Kenney echoed those comments saying public safety was the forefront of this agreement.
“For members of the Stoney Nakoda community, to get from house to house or community to community, they have to walk on a busy highway with no shoulders. That’s their sidewalk, that’s their trail. For me, this is a public safety issue; it should have happened a long time ago.”
The widening project will also make the ditches less steep and smooth dips and hills and straighten curves to bring the highway to current design standards.
The project should be completed in three years once a contract has been awarded and cost roughly $76.5 million.