After four years, and a gazilion wrong turns by drivers who got confused by the many, many changing detours in north east Edmonton, the final portion of the Anthony Henday will open after a late morning ceremony on Saturday. And merchants all through metro will be happy to see it.
There’s been the extra expense said Todd Banks, the executive director of the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce. “Just to get a courier into one of the businesses, it was taking them so long to get in, they were charging a premium to come to a business. It would take maybe two hours to get into pick up a package at a business and those were some of the added costs. But with the Henday opening up, obviously it’s going to be so much better.”
And now there’s the opportunity. Londonderry Mall is spending $130 million in upgrades to expand its reach from a local mall to a regional one. “Londonderry Mall was very focused in a much smaller neighborhood focused trade area,” said marketing director, Nancy Jarnevic. “It was really about the surrounding neighborhoods around the mall itself. Now with the Anthony Henday being open and opening up new trade areas and access to residents in Sherwood Park and surrounding neighborhoods in that area it makes us much more accessible.”
Coun. Ed Gibbons said it’s been a long time coming, and he’ll be glad the complaints will be in his rear view mirror. “One-point-eight billion dollars spent, 46 over passes and two river bridges, I don’t believe it’s completely going to be completed but it’ll be totally movable and everybody will be able to go to and to and from and they want to leave from Sherwood Park be in St. Albert in half an hour, it’ll be an easy run.”
“It’ll just make movement of heavy heavy goods and get them off the Yellowhead,” Gibbons said. “The Yellowhead is still going to be busy for forever, but as our population keeps growing and the population of vehicles keeps growing we’ve got to be able to move people elsewhere and away from congested roads.”
He said that particular leg should have been done first, but since it’s also the most expensive, the MLAs shied away from starting with it.
The latest word from a spokesman with the province’s transportation department is, it’s supposed to open to traffic ‘some time in the afternoon’ but there are still a lot of moving parts. Gibbons said he was told to be there for an 11:00 ceremony.