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Highway 3 projects loom large in provincial highway planning

Highway 3 projects loom large in provincial highway planning
Twinning work will start soon on the unsupported 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett, west of Medicine Hat.
Twinning work will start soon on the unsupported 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett, west of Medicine Hat.
IMAGE: Breeze Photo
IMAGE: Breeze Photo

Highway 3 projects loom large in provincial highway planning

By George Lee
By George Lee
Local Journalism Initiative | The Macleod Gazette
Shootin’ the Breeze Local Journalism Initiative | The Macleod Gazette
April 27, 2024
April 27, 2024

With or without federal support, improvements to a major southern Alberta highway continue because of its critical economic importance as an east-west corridor, the province says.

Eight Highway 3 projects are on the books after being separated into “bite-sized chunks” to keep costs in check, said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors.

Dreeshen pointed to Highway 3’s importance in connecting the province to British Columbia and Saskatchewan through an area of irrigation, agriculture and oil and gas.

“It’s such a breadbasket of Alberta,” said the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

The National Trade Corridors Fund has so far failed to put money toward a list from the Alberta government of projects in southern, central and northern Alberta. All proposal calls are closed.

The province’s submissions would help pay for upgrades affecting Edmonton, Devon, Calgary, Balzac, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass, Piikani First Nation, Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod, Taber and dozens of other communities.

 

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One of the unsuccessful projects is part of more than 210 kilometres of twinning-related work on Highway 3 and Highway 3X that’s at some stage of consultation, planning or design.

Work will start soon on the unsupported 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and a hamlet called Burdett, west of Medicine Hat. A design-build contract won by Ledcor will see ground turn this spring and support about 750 jobs, a ministry spokesperson told the Local Journalism Initiative.

Also beginning this spring is detailed design engineering for the Highway 3X/Coleman bypass. Planning studies are finished for 14 km of work.

Work on 36 km of twinning west of Seven Persons to Medicine Hat starts this year, now that planning studies are complete and a detailed design engineering contract has been awarded.

In the fall, detailed design engineering is expected to start on 21 km of the highway from Blairmore to east of its intersection with Highway 22. More detailed design engineering should follow in the winter of 2024 for 20 km of work from east of Highway 22 to Highway 6 at Pincher Creek. Planning studies are finished for both.

Less far along are three other projects.

A functional planning study is complete for east of Burdett to west of Seven Persons, a section of 30 km. But the province needs to continue consulting with the Town of Bow Island and other stakeholders to finalize alignment, said the ministry.

For Pincher Creek to west of Fort Macleod, a functional planning study with Piikani Nation is underway for 38 km of Highway 3 work.

 

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With or without federal support, improvements to a major southern Alberta highway continue because of its critical economic importance as an east-west corridor, the province says.

Eight Highway 3 projects are on the books after being separated into “bite-sized chunks” to keep costs in check, said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors.

Dreeshen pointed to Highway 3’s importance in connecting the province to British Columbia and Saskatchewan through an area of irrigation, agriculture and oil and gas.

“It’s such a breadbasket of Alberta,” said the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

The National Trade Corridors Fund has so far failed to put money toward a list from the Alberta government of projects in southern, central and northern Alberta. All proposal calls are closed.

The province’s submissions would help pay for upgrades affecting Edmonton, Devon, Calgary, Balzac, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass, Piikani First Nation, Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod, Taber and dozens of other communities.

 

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One of the unsuccessful projects is part of more than 210 kilometres of twinning-related work on Highway 3 and Highway 3X that’s at some stage of consultation, planning or design.

Work will start soon on the unsupported 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and a hamlet called Burdett, west of Medicine Hat. A design-build contract won by Ledcor will see ground turn this spring and support about 750 jobs, a ministry spokesperson told the Local Journalism Initiative.

Also beginning this spring is detailed design engineering for the Highway 3X/Coleman bypass. Planning studies are finished for 14 km of work.

Work on 36 km of twinning west of Seven Persons to Medicine Hat starts this year, now that planning studies are complete and a detailed design engineering contract has been awarded.

In the fall, detailed design engineering is expected to start on 21 km of the highway from Blairmore to east of its intersection with Highway 22. More detailed design engineering should follow in the winter of 2024 for 20 km of work from east of Highway 22 to Highway 6 at Pincher Creek. Planning studies are finished for both.

Less far along are three other projects.

A functional planning study is complete for east of Burdett to west of Seven Persons, a section of 30 km. But the province needs to continue consulting with the Town of Bow Island and other stakeholders to finalize alignment, said the ministry.

For Pincher Creek to west of Fort Macleod, a functional planning study with Piikani Nation is underway for 38 km of Highway 3 work.

 

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