By Medicine Hat News on October 17, 2020.
With one stretch of Highway 3 approved for twinning, efforts are underway to convince the provincial government to expand the project.
The Highway 3 Twinning Development Association said Wednesday it is urging the Alberta government to fund four other sections of the highway.
The association wants four specific stretches of the highway to be twinned in addition to the section from Taber to Burdett.
Funding for the latter stretch was approved as part of a $10-billion provincial stimulus spending package this year.
The four sections the association also want twinned include:
– Medicine Hat to Seven Persons including the airport runway realignment, a total distance of 26 kilometres;
– Pincher Station to Bellevue (36 km);
– Piikani Nation functional planning study; and
– Fort Macleod Stage 1A (shovel ready).
The association says gross domestic product projections for southern Alberta show a substantial increase due to new and expanding industries including the Grassy Mountain Coal Project and several power projects.
Twinning association president Bill Chapman said Wednesday he hopes ground can be broken on the $150-million, 46-km Taber to Burdett section next year and the project done in summer or fall of 2023.
The second priority for the association is the Medicine Hat to Seven Persons section, he said. That part of the highway has seen various fatalities and traffic can be impeded by farm equipment.
“The City of Medicine Hat has been advocating as much as anybody” for improvements to that piece of road, he said.
“The 24 kilometres of passing lanes (on Highway 3) built in the Ralph Klein era don’t serve the purpose they would have in their day,” said Chapman, adding the project has the support of municipalities and chambers of commerce along the route.
Due to work on the Trans-Canada Highway in B.C., truck traffic is being rerouted south to Highway 3 and Chapman says according to a Highway 3 twinning association in that province, truck traffic has increased by seven per hour.
“The pressure on Highway 3 is incredible,” he said.
“Trucks and cars don’t mix; I feel bad for so many travellers. We want to make travel more comfortable and also more safe and more efficient,” Chapman added.
“Highway 3 is a critical pipeline for moving an increasing number of commodities to processors and the conduit for transporting the final products to market. As such, the twinning of Highway 3 will champion jobs and support the expanding economy of southern Alberta and the province at a critical time in our province’s history,” said the association in a press release.
People supporting the continued twinning of the highway can sign a petition at the organization’s website http://www.twin3.ca