High­way 3 Twin­ning De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion con­tin­ues to push

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta - BY HEATHER CAMERON

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.

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