Vive Le Canada

Suncor Energy to donate $55M interchange near Ft McMurray
Date: Wednesday, April 16 2008
Topic: Business and Money


Suncor Energy Inc. plans to build a $55-million interchange on an increasingly busy highway near its Fort McMurray operations and then hand ownership over -- no strings attached -- to Alberta, a province flush with cash because of oil revenue.



Carrie Tait, Financial Post  Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008



CALGARY -- Suncor Energy Inc. plans to build a $55-million interchange on an increasingly busy highway near its Fort McMurray operations and then hand ownership over -- no strings attached -- to Alberta, a province flush with cash because of oil revenue.



"The province is looking at managing infrastructure with investments in the priority areas," said Heather McLachlan, a spokesperson for Alberta Transportation. "By having industry invest infrastructure, it allows [projects] to be built earlier than if we had been able to prioritize [the project] with all of the different projects we have across the province."

Suncor Energy to build $55M interchange




Carrie Tait, Financial Post 
Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008



CALGARY -- Suncor Energy Inc. plans to build a $55-million interchange on an increasingly busy highway near its Fort McMurray operations and then hand ownership over -- no strings attached -- to Alberta, a province flush with cash because of oil revenue.


"The province is looking at managing infrastructure with investments in the priority areas," said Heather McLachlan, a spokesperson for Alberta Transportation. "By having industry invest infrastructure, it allows [projects] to be built earlier than if we had been able to prioritize [the project] with all of the different projects we have across the province."


Suncor first pitched the idea to the government as part of its March 2005 proposal for its Voyager oilsands project, said Brad Bellows, a spokesperson for Suncor, noting the company does not have any other infrastructure projects planned.


"Under the Highways Act, the access is the responsibility of the developer," he said. "We chose to make that access an overpass set up, which is, of course, more expensive than a level crossing. But we felt for safety reasons it was the right thing to do."


The interchange will be built on Highway 63, about 25 kilometers north of Fort McMurray. An average of 16,870 vehicles per day used the highway just south of where the interchange will go in 2007, while about 11,620 vehicles used it north of the planned spot, Ms. McLachlan said. By comparison, 4,790 vehicles per day used the highway south of the designated spot in 1998, while 3,800 vehicles per day used it to the north.


Ms. McLachlan noted that Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is also working to improve an intersection at Fort McKay. Developers have also paid for the total cost of construction of the Deerfoot Meadows interchange in Calgary, as well contributing to a number of other key intersections and interchanges in that city.


"The provincial government has not, ever, had any plan in place for integrated urban development sufficient to meet the requirements of the industrial development it has permitted," said James Lightbody, a political science professor at the University of Alberta. "Large corporations prefer to see their workforce arrive at employment, on time and intact, and not in body bags or on gurneys."



http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=447861







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