On February 21, Financial and Corporate Services presented their report to City Council on the funding option for the Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion Project and sought to gain budget approval for next steps.  This project aims to improve the operational capacity and level of service that this corridor provides by upgrading to a freeway with 6 core lanes, as well as free-flowing traffic along all 25 kms within Edmonton City limits.  The work will be completed in various stages to limit the amount of impact on surrounding areas.  You can read this entire report and all supporting documents here  (item 6.2) 

City Council passed a motion that approved the following recommendations:

  1. That each of the Capital Profiles and funding sources as set out in Attachment 1 of the February 21, 2017, Financial and Corporate Services report CR_4248, be approved.
  2. That new tax-supported debt of $510,793,000, with debt repayments to be recovered from future revenues generated from tax levy, be approved.    

I want to provide some clarity on how this project will be funded as there was a bit of confusion. Some thought this project was going to require a 1.76% increase every year. I’ve included a picture of the debt servicing amounts which lists the total estimated rate increase at 1.76% over the full ten year period.

Yellowhead tax levy graph

Here is the funding breakdown from the report:

funding model for yellowhead

Attachment 4 in the report outlines a possible construction schedule over the ten year timeline. It is possible that this will evolve as the project team completes the detailed design work. You may have noticed that the 215th street interchange upgrade is not included in this project. Any additional upgrades to that section would be the responsibility of the Provincial Government but by approving the Yellowhead upgrades, it does allow us to start having that conversation with the Provincial government to look at coordinating any additional work that may be required at this location.

Upgrading Yellowhead Trail to a freeway not only provides better service and ease of access/transfer of goods, but creates an opportunity to perform necessary maintenance on the Anthony Henday that will preserve the life cycle of that investment. It also spurs business and industry growth along the Yellowhead corridor and overall Edmonton region.

As always, feel free to get in touch with me to share your feedback or ask any question. Based on the report presented and supporting documents, I believe it is in the City’s best interest to pursue these major upgrades to this vital piece of infrastructure in Edmonton.




Co-authored by A.Knack and K. Machin

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