June 21st, 2024

Twinning Highway 3 priority for province

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 19, 2022.

Alberta Transportation is hoping to see the expansion of Highway 3 commence in the coming months to help increase Alberta’s economic corridor.

Highway 3, or the Crowsnest Highway, runs about 320 kilometres from Medicine Hat to the B.C. border, cutting through one of the largest agricultural regions in the country. With the expansion the four lanes will keep up with the increased economic growth in the region.

“Looking at the first area of Highway 3, between Taber and Burdett, the 46-kilometer stretch will very soon be able to show progress,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors. “It has been stalled for a while, so we are going to try to do everything we can to expedite that.”

Speaking to the need for development, Dreeshen notes the importance of these economic corridors.

“It is beyond just a roadway,” said Dreeshen. “It is going into utility corridors and making sure that we have electricity, water, energy. Whether it’s oil or natural gas going through these areas, Alberta is blessed here with the third largest oil reserve and fifth largest natural gas reserves. But we are not blessed with tidewater, and that means we have to be in the business of building economic corridors within Alberta. Building and creating allies outside of Alberta to get products, that the world needs, to market is a big undertaking.”

With inflation driving market prices up, road construction can become affected by increasing costs.

“Inflation is getting in the way for a lot of people,” said Dreeshen. “When it comes to construction, it is much worse. We are looking at 6 to 8 per cent inflation in the construction world, sometimes it is up to 20 or 30 per cent. That is always a concern when it comes to road building. These are important projects, and they need to get built. If they are not built, and looked at ten or more years from now, it will be even more expensive. Inflation is always the biggest opponent that we go up against.”

Working to expand Alberta’s economic corridor through transportation and expansion, the Highway 3 project will help get resources to where they need to go.

“We are excited to try and get as many projects completed,” said Dreeshen. “At the end of the day, when you are building roads, you are helping families get to places they want to go.”

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