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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Alberta highway planning consultations underway

Highway 3 east of Highway 6 intersection
C. Davis file photo
Toni Lucas and Chris Davis


Town of Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg and Councillor Mark Barber are scheduled to attend a meeting in Fort Macleod on Monday February 3, at which regional concerns about Highway 3 will be aired with  representatives of  Alberta Transportation.

The "community-led discussion" on February 3 is one of 18 planned by Alberta Transportation to be held in various Alberta communities,  phase one of a two phase consultation process.


According to a recent Government of Alberta press release, "In phase one, which begins January 28 in St. Paul, Albertans and stakeholders can participate in discussions held in 18 communities throughout the province. These discussions will result in the development of the draft Strategy that will be made available for review and comment in the second phase of the consultation."**

"In phase two (April and May), individuals and organizations will be invited to participate in an online public consultation on the draft Strategy. Interested parties will also be encouraged to host their own discussions on the draft Strategy and resources will be made available to assist them. Organizers will be asked to submit summaries of these discussions to Alberta Transportation for consideration in the development of the Strategy."**

Upcoming community-led discussions in southern Alberta:

  • February 3, 1:30 - 4:30 pm, at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall, 307 25 Street (Highway 3 W)
  • February 4, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, Lethbridge, Foothills Room at the Coast Hotel, 526 Mayor Magrath Drive 


Speaking at the January 27 meeting of Pincher Creek's Town council, Mayor Anderberg said the Mayors of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Coalhurst, and Fort Macleod will be meeting in Fort Macleod to discuss their Highway 3 concerns on January 30, prior to the meeting with Alberta Transportation. Councillor Barber is also scheduled to help represent Pincher Creek at that meeting.

Anderberg asked council if there were concerns that they wanted brought forward at these two meetings.

 Certain issues that were brought forward by councillors specific to Pincher Creek:
  • The safety of the intersection at Highway 3 and Highway 6
  • Financial implications
  • The configuration of the future road that will lead off of  Highway 3 to the town of Pincher Creek
  • The current and projected traffic count on Highway 3
  • The corner of  Highway 22X and Highway 3
  • Solidification of future Highway 3 plans
  • Lowered speed limits at major highway intersections in the area
One short term change proposed was squaring up the intersection at Highway 3 and Highway 6, north of Pincher Creek, to improve visibility. Council discussed the problems those who are on the north side of that intersection at Pincher Station face, particularly when turning south. "We have a problem now, today. If they're not going to do anything for a number of years, is it a big stretch to have them fix that corner so it's actually safe?" said Anderberg.

The concerns of  the communities of Fort Macleod, Crowsnest Pass, and Coalhurst were also discussed by the council.

"I would like to see our Town maps showing the proposed new location of Highway 3, the cloverleaf that (Alberta) Transportation has identified, and the various roads done in very light ink to show where those roads are, so that if somebody comes to Pincher Creek planning to start a business, he will know where the road eventually will come," said councillor Doug Thornton.

"What we're asking for is for them to guarantee where (the roads will be placed)" said Anderberg. "I doubt they'll guarantee it," said Thornton, who said that he would like to see further commitment from Alberta Transportation as to what plan will be implemented, adding that he recognized it will take time before it is actually built.

Councillor Mark Barber expressed concerns about the costs associated with underpasses or overpasses. He said that he would like to see Highway 3 twinned.

"We are all citizens here, we all use the same piece of road, and travel through these areas," said Anderberg.

 According to Anderberg, Highway 3 issues were discussed at the Mayors and Reeve's Committee,which was held January 3 in Lethbridge.  "It's time to make our statement on this road."

Background

Highway 3 from the BC border/Crowsnest Pass to Highway 1 in Medicine Hat "is a designated future freeway within the National Highway System"*. A long term planning study "was undertaken for ultimate upgrade of Highway 3 in the Crowsnest Pass to a freeway standard from the Alberta/BC border to Highway 507"*.  Planning for that project has been completed but to date "Study recommendations have been accepted for information only".*  Highway 507 joins Highway 3 just west of the Burmis scales and runs from there to Beaver Mines and then east to Pincher Creek.

Additionally, a future Highway 3/Highway 4 interchange east of Lethbridge is being contemplated, as is "the future twinning alignment of Highway 3 from Highway 36 on the East side of Taber to Township Road 120, west of Medicine Hat, a total distance of 102.1 km".*

Several sections of Highway 3 have already been twinned to create stretches of passing lanes in the last decade, including a section east of Brocket and a section through the coulees between Pincher Creek and Cowley.

Schedule and locations of community-led discussions
Transportation Strategy for Alberta feedback form

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