Sparwood Mayor and council cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the Sparwood Middletown Intersection.  Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood Mayor and council cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the Sparwood Middletown Intersection. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

New Sparwood intersection on Hwy 3 officially open

Project includes Hwy 3/43 intersection, Aspen Drive/Hwy 43 intersection, pedestrian tunnel, and more

On October 18, the District of Sparwood celebrated the completion of the Middletown Crossing – Highway 3/43 Intersection Improvements Project.

The new project includes full traffic control signals at the Highway 3/43 intersection and 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.

Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall is excited that the project is now complete.

“It really is a positive thing,” he said at the grand opening.

“Not just for Sparwood but for the rest of British Columbia. Just to make this intersection a smoother transition from Alberta into B.C., welcome our Albertan tourists through and keep that traffic rolling.

“It’s going to open up this whole side of the highway. It’s kind of looked like a war zone over here for the past two years and we’re certainly glad to see that improved.”

“This intersection is good for Elkford as well … it makes it easier to make that turn north and head up to Elkford,” he added.

McDougall thanked the federal government for their funding support, as well as retired MLA Bill Bennett whom McDougall praised for lobbying for this project.

He said he was especially excited about the completion of the intersection following the recent announcement by Teck Coal to develop a new centralized office building in Sparwood.

“It will house in the neighbourhood of 300-plus folks and it will open up this area, it will open up a lot of offices in our community that Teck has taken up, so it’s a win win,” said McDougall.

“Thank you Teck for that announcement, it’s very exciting and very progressive.”

Duane Lawrence, Director of Community and Facility Services for the District of Sparwood, said that the pedestrian tunnel provides a vital link to the recreation amenities on the south side of Highway 3.

“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,” he said in a release from the District.

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.”