Middletown Crossing completion celebrated
The District of Sparwood today celebrated the completion of the Middletown Crossing – Highway 3/43 Intersection Improvements Project.
The $7.7 million project was funded by the municipal, provincial and federal governments through a grant under the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund Program.
“The province is committed to building safe and efficient highways,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This project will benefit the people in this growing community and the many mine workers who use this intersection to access their workplace.”
Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall is excited that the project is now complete, particularly following the recent announcement by Teck Coal to develop a new centralized office building in Sparwood.
“It took a lot of hard work to finish this project, which was one of this council’s strategic priorities for 2018. It is our hope that this intersection and the new office building to be constructed by Teck will increase investor confidence in the community and attract other businesses to Sparwood,” stated McDougall.
The Middletown Crossing – Highway 3/43 Intersection Improvements Project includes:
- full traffic control signals at the Highway 3/43 intersection;
- full traffic control signals at the Aspen Drive/Highway 43 intersection;
- a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 3;
- construction of Middletown Place and Spruce Spur; and
- the construction of a sidewalk along Aspen Drive from Spruce Spur to Tim Hortons and along Highway 43 up to Highway 3.
“The pedestrian tunnel provides a vital link to the recreation amenities on the South side of Highway 3,” said Duane Lawrence, Director of Community and Facility Services for the District of Sparwood. “Providing a safe way for our community to cross the highway is very important and the new tunnel allows everyone to safely access the trail network, golf course and campground that were previously accessed by car.”
The celebration and official ribbon cutting event took place at 4 p.m. at Middletown Place and was attended by various levels of government, business leaders, non-governmental organizations and individuals from the community.
The Middletown Crossing – Highway 3/43 Intersection Improvements Project was identified as a council priority for 2018 in the District of Sparwood’s 2015-2018 Corporate Strategic Plan. The completion of the project contributes to the fulfillment of the following goals and objectives:
- Supporting a “strong local economy” by encouraging “economic diversification” and creating “a supportive climate for businesses” (Section 4.1.1).
- Enhancing and maintaining “existing facilities and infrastructure through adequate maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement as appropriate” (Section 4.9).
- Constructing “multiple intersection improvements of Middletown Place, Highway 3/43 and Highway 43/Aspen Drive for future development. This work includes numerous components, including but not limited to: Earthworks; Pavement; Traffic Controls; Street lighting; Sidewalks; Relocation of overhead lines, relocation and addition of services and utilities.” (Section 4.9.1).
The District of Sparwood had previously agreed to complete the intersection improvements and tunnel project as part of the sale of land for the development of Middletown. Construction began in 2014 and, due to an economic downturn and escalating construction costs, the project was delayed while the district sought assistance from senior government while looking for cost reductions.
In April of 2016, the District of Sparwood applied for two-third funding of the eligible costs in the second round of funding for the Canada-British Columbia New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (NBCF-SCF). In March of 2017, the application for the NBCF-SCF grant was approved with two-third federal and provincial funding, leaving the remaining one-third to be covered by the district, which was funded through the Land Sale Reserve Fund.
The district was also committed to contributing in-kind material and any ineligible costs. Increased taxation from this site and future land sales will contribute to rebuilding the Land Sales reserve.
A breakdown of the latest project costs is summarized as follows:
Estimated Cost of Phase 2 of the Project: $8,813,480;
Eligible Costs for Grant Application: $7,676,200;
Federal & Provincial Contribution: $5,117,466;
Municipal Contribution: $2,558,734;
In-kind materials by Sparwood: $1,129,280.
Construction re-commenced in the spring of 2017 with powerline relocations and on December 11, 2017, the District of Sparwood council awarded the Middletown Crossing – Highway 3/43 Intersection Improvements to Projex Infrastructure Ltd. for the price of $7,083,644.43.
The project includes various aspects, including traffic control lights at the intersections of Highway 3/43 and Highway 43/Aspen Drive, the construction of Middletown Place and Spruce Spur, a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 3, and a pathway along Aspen Drive and Highway 43 from Spruce Spur up to Highway 3. Additional paved pathways will be located at the northeast corner of the Highway 3/43 intersection, as well as from Spruce Spur through the pedestrian tunnel, and up to and along Middletown Place. Pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks will be located at the intersections of Highway 3/43 and Highway 43/Aspen Drive. LED lights will be located along Highway 3 near the Highway 43 Intersection, and along Middletown Place.
These features are shown in the map above.
The traffic control lights Highway 3 and 43 can be triggered by first responders so that the light changes to reduce delays for emergency vehicles.
These traffic control lights also have vehicle sensors on the intersecting roads that will trigger the lights when necessary for the side street or for left turns but allow continuous traffic flow on the major highways when the intersection is unoccupied.
The tunnel at the end of Spruce Spur will provide safe passage for pedestrians to cross Highway 3 where they will be able to access the golf course and campground, as well as access to any future developments in the area. The tunnel will also become a part of the Elk Valley Trail and the Trans Canada Trail.
Teck will be building a new office building in Sparwood which, along with the construction of this intersection, will contribute to economic development and attract new businesses to town. Teck Coal is the primary employer in Sparwood with five coal mines in the area. They currently employ approximately 4,000 people, drawing from both Sparwood’s labour force and from outside of the region.
Please see Sparwood’s Community Profile and The Sensible Rocky Mountain Investment Choice for more information on the community.
Learn more about the Middletown Crossing project at www.sparwood.ca/middletown.
District of Sparwood