Alberta Party eyes third lane on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway
Sean McIntosh, Red Deer Advocate
The leader of the Alberta Party says if elected, it will build a third lane along the Queen Elizabeth II Highway between Calgary and Edmonton, which will eventually be used for self-driving vehicles.
Stephen Mandel made the announcement during a campaign stop outside the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer Thursday.
Mandel said investing in self-driving vehicles, also known as autonomous vehicles, would lead to economic growth for the province.
“We believe if we invest in this area, we can become the training centre, the research centre … for autonomous vehicles in North America.
“We talk about diversifying our economy, we talk about creating a different Alberta. This is the opportunity,” he said.
“Tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles will be like yesterday’s computer evolution and … if we can get on the leading edge, and in front of this, it could really be a tremendous industry for Alberta.”
According to the Alberta Party, the additional lanes between Calgary and Edmonton, spanning 261 kilometres, would cost $1.6 billion. It would create an estimated 5,000 construction jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs per year of construction.
Mandel estimated the project would take three or four years to complete.
“Car traffic is up thousands of vehicles, truck traffic is up and it’s not very safe,” he said when discussing the Queen Elizabeth II Highway.
“Red Deer is, in my opinion, the epicentre of (the Queen Elizabeth II Highway). It is the connectivity between Edmonton and Calgary. Everybody knows Red Deer is the place you stop, and a place (the Queen Elizabeth II Highway) has life in it.”
Mandel was also scheduled to tour DC Inspection Services on Edgar Industrial Crescent and hold a “pints and politics” event at Boston Pizza while in Red Deer.
The provincial election is April 16.