Highway 3 Twinning Development Association continues to push
The Highway 3 Twinning Development Association is working to persuade the Alberta Government to twin Highway 3 from the Crowsnest Pass to Medicine Hat.
This is one of the main Highways in Alberta on the National Highway System that has not been twinned,” said Bill Chapman, the President of the Highway 3 Twinning Association and councilor for the Town of Coaldale. “It remains the only east/west Highway in Alberta that is not twinned. The Trans Canada and Yellowhead freeways are twinned from border to border.”
Formed in 2001 by municipalities along the Highway 3 corridor, the Association has a goal to make the government understand and appreciate twinning Highway 3 is enough of a critical priority for Alberta Transportation to include it in the budget process.
The City of Medicine Hat, Chapman says, envisioned creating an association to advocate and promote the need to twin Highway 3.
“All the communities along the Highway 3 corridor will truly benefit from twinning,” Chapman said. “It has been found through two studies, the first done in 2004 by the Van Horne Institute in Calgary, that twinning is a worthy investment. The second study, done in April of 2017, proves that economy will certainly grow as more people, goods and services, tourism, and recreation arrive into our communities.”
Chapman says that the study, Highway 3 Twinning Feasibility: A Cost Benefit Analysis announces that for every $1 the Government of Alberta invests into construction of this Highway, there is a $3 return in economic benefit to the whole corridor.
“As an Association, we are unified on the need to twin this major national highway,” Chapman said. “The government agrees with our assessment that construction should commence at the west end of the province. Our municipalities are reliant on this transportation corridor. We have two anchor cities: Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. They are working on multi-modal transportation systems to centralize bases for air, rail, and road.”
In the early 2000s, Chapman says the government began adding 24 kilometers of passing lanes to improve safety and assist with relieving congestion along the Highway. A bypass was also constructed around the Village of Barnwell to accommodate the higher volumes of traffic and equipment on the road.
Chapman says Alberta Transportation has a master plan for a twinned Highway or freeway extending from the Crowsnest Pass all the way to Medicine Hat. The government, Chapman says, continually conducts Functional Planning Studies to identify possible alignments for where the twinning should be routed and consider factors including current and potential environmental impacts, and they also identify things like key access points, overpasses, and cloverleafs.
Alberta Transportation, Chapman says, wants to work closely with municipalities and include input from counties, cities, towns, and villages where the new highway will be constructed. Open Houses are set up to engage the public in understanding their views, aspirations, or concerns. Alberta Transportation officials are also continually meeting with other governing bodies, including municipal councils, to update and review what the studies are showing.
“It has been shown over and over, that most people and transport trucks prefer to travel a twinned Highway or freeway over a single lane highway,” Chapman said.