By Mabell, Dave on November 28, 2019.
Responding to reports of more collisions and fatalities, advocates for Highway 3 improvements are calling on the provincial government to commit to the project.
Last month’s provincial budget presentation provided no support for a long-needed twinning program, points out the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association.
But for about $800,000, it says, the transportation department could complete the engineering work for a four-lane section that runs 10 kilometres. At present, the interprovincial highway to the West Coast is twinned from Fort Macleod through Lethbridge to Taber.
Association president Bill Chapman says the advocacy group is calling for a dedicated program “that will provide reasonable funding included in each budget cycle.”
The dollar amount could vary depending on the availability of capital transportation funds, he adds.
“It would be the preference of Highway 3 Twinning Development Association to see the early minimum allocation of $10 million per year to finalize engineering, utility relocation, right-of-way and environmental impact design along the corridor,” Chapman says.
As funds became available, the province could complete twinning construction in sections – eventually resulting in a fully twinned Highway 3.
Current growth projections for southern Alberta show a significant increase in the value of the region’s gross domestic production, Chapman says, due to new and expanding industries.
“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.”
Upgrading the highway, the association says, will create jobs and support the expanding economy of southern Alberta at a critical time in the province’s history.
“The need to have a program to address forward momentum toward twinning is now.”