Congrested rush hour traffic is seen at the intersection of Terwillegar Drive and 40 Avenue.
Ian Kucerak / Postmedia
City council voted Tuesday to lobby the province for transit grant funding for dedicated bus lanes on the Terwillegar expressway.In late 2018, the city sent the province a list of projects as part of an application for the Alberta Community Transit Fund. That list included plans to upgrade Terwillegar Drive into an expressway.The motion passed by council Tuesday directs Mayor Don Iveson to write to Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason and Premier Rachel Notley and “urgently advocate” the position that the Terwillegar expressway upgrade project is a high priority.After emerging from council’s in-camera discussion about the motion, Iveson said there is some “confusion” about the application, and that council wants to take an opportunity to urge the province to view the Terwillegar project not only as a fix for commuter-congestion, but also as a transit initiative.“We’re committed to include these transit lanes one way or the other, the question is whether they’re eligible for a particular provincial transit grant,” Iveson said.During its budget deliberations last December, the city committed $101 million to the first phase of upgrades for the congested southwest arterial.The plan to convert the southwest roadway into a freeway dates back to its initial construction in the 1980s. Iveson said an expressway will have benefits not only for people in the city’s southwest, but also for the region beyond.Last August, the province announced it would grant Alberta communities $215 million to put toward transit initiatives.Iveson said dedicated bus lanes are in the cards regardless of whether or not the grant money comes through, but said it’s one last conversation to see if something can happen before the provincial election.“Anything we can do to ladder on some provincial dollars to city council’s commitment to decongest and improve the Terwillegar expressway is, I think, good news,” he firstname.lastname@example.org/paigeeparsons