By Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2021.
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Advocates for the twinning of Highway 3 say they hope to keep up momentum as the province plans to start work on some sections this summer.
That includes a call to bring industry voices on board the effort, which has already brought support from Medicine Hat-based major manufacturer, Goodyear Tires.
“We want to update partners along the whole corridor and are really grateful for the province getting this started,” said association chair Bill Chapman, a town of Coaldale councillor. We’re seeing a keen interest from the province and really a lot of interest from key stakeholders.
“We’re watching for predictable funding for the rest of the projects.”
The province announced in July it would spend $150 million to provide divided highway lanes on a 43-kilometre stretch from Taber to Burdett.
Work on portions could begin in the coming construction season.
Lobbying for upgrades has always included municipalities and chambers of commerce along the route from Medicine Hat through Lethbridge to the Crowsnest Pass.
Chapman said the regional outlook for irrigation, food production and general business development should improve highway upgrades as an economic priority.
Other listed industry backers include food producers Lamb-Weston and Lantic Sugar, which both operate in the Taber to Lethbridge corridor.
Several regional trucking firms are also noted, and some homebuilders and housing manufacturers in Bow Island and Medicine Hat are on board as well as the Alberta Sugar Beet Producers and Alberta Potato Growers.
A late 2020 announcement by Alberta Agriculture and the Federal government’s Infrastructure bank will see reservoir development and expanded acreage in several irrigation districts in the region, including the St. Mary’s system that stretches the length of highway corridor.
That is seen as a forerunner of increased crop production and, potentially, more specialty crop processing.