+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 14-23F

Provincial High-Load Corridor Protection

Date:
November 8, 2023
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2026
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
Leduc County
District:
3 - Pembina River
Year:
2023
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Transportation and Infrastructure
Status:
Intent Not Met
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has designated several provincial highways as high-load corridors; and

WHEREAS high-load corridors have had overhead utility lines raised or buried to accommodate loads up to nine meters high unless otherwise noted; and

WHEREAS high-load corridors allow goods and services to travel quickly and efficiently throughout the province; and

WHEREAS high-load corridors are essential for businesses transporting over-dimensional loads and significantly contribute to the local, regional and provincial economy; and

WHEREAS introducing additional access points to these designated highways can impair their functionality, impede the movement of over-dimensional loads, and result in additional costs to move loads and products throughout the province; and

WHEREAS industries including manufacturing, farming, distribution, energy and natural resources rely on roads that are not restricted by weight and dimensions; and

WHEREAS to continue to grow industry, intensive agriculture, distribution and manufacturing in Alberta, the Government of Alberta must ensure coordinated planning to expand its transportation infrastructure and protect existing high-load and economic corridors;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta to collaborate with municipalities to protect and coordinate the provincial high-load corridor network.

Member Background:

Alberta has a network of highways designated as “high load corridors.” These highways have had the overhead utility lines raised to accommodate loads up to nine meters high. While the impacted highways are all under provincial jurisdiction, many intersect with municipal roadways. As municipalities continue to grow, there is a risk that municipal needs to access provincial highways, including those designated as high load corridors, may increase, and these new intersections and traffic control infrastructure could result in reduced traffic flow and additional potential risks for oversized loads using the corridors.

Many rural municipalities are home to economic corridors that are integral to new and existing businesses and industries in the province; the protection and coordination of these corridors is a priority. An example is Highway 625 — a designated provincial high-load corridor — runs through Leduc County into the City of Beaumont.

This high-load corridor provides an integral service to businesses in Nisku and the surrounding region. The corridor allows businesses to move over-dimensional and heavy loads quickly and efficiently in and out of the Nisku Business Park to major industry in the region and province.

The City of Beaumont is currently completing a functional planning study for its forthcoming Innovation Park Area Structure Plan (ASP). Within the ASP is the addition of an access point onto Highway 625. Traffic flow is important to ensure over-dimensional loads are not impeded or delayed as it has a significant economic impact on industry and regular traffic. The traffic signals and/or infrastructure required to enforce an additional direct access to Highway 625 from the ASP area will add to the incremental degradation of the performance of Highway 625 as an Arterial (Level 2) and high load corridor and would have significant and lasting impacts on the movement of over dimensional loads within the region and interprovincially.

Additional access points onto high-load corridors have significant and lasting impacts on the movement of over dimensional and heavy loads. This also impacts industry in Nisku, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and the provincial energy industry, resulting in additional costs to move loads in and out of Nisku and a slowdown of economic growth in the region.

Leduc County and the City of Beaumont have had ongoing discussions about the City of Beaumont’s forthcoming Innovation Park ASP, including the impacts an additional access point will have on industrial business in the region.

The Integrated Regional Transportation Master Plan (IRTMP) was developed by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB). One of the recommendations in the IRTMP was to complete a South Leduc Regional Network Plan to plan the current and future major transportation corridors required between the City of Edmonton and Glen Park Road to accommodate the current and projected demands in the southern quadrant of the metropolitan region, including Edmonton International Airport (YEG) and its cargo hub.

In March 2022, Leduc County, the City of Leduc and the EMRB met with Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors (ATEC) and recommended that the South Leduc Network Plan be prioritized by ATEC. At the time, ATEC shared that work will be starting on the Edmonton Regional Network Study, and the South Leduc Network Plan would be part of that study instead of the IRTMP.

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridor’s Edmonton Regional Network Study should include the South Leduc Network Plan, as this would ensure a comprehensive and coordinated transportation plan that would facilitate economic growth in the region.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors

The High-load Corridor (HLC) network is important to the movement of over-dimensional and heavy loads across Alberta. Part of the HLC network follows Highway 625 east of Nisku, which is a major generator of over-dimensional loads. Highway 625 also serves as a connecting route for hauling over-dimensional loads from east to west and vice versa.

Protecting a route that can accommodate these types of loads will continue to be a priority for TEC.

TEC initiated the Edmonton Region Network Study (ERNS) in the spring of 2023, with a planned completion in 2025, prior to the municipal elections. This study will align with the full build-out of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board’s growth plan , test how far the regional transportation network can stretch, and what additional capacity and/or connections may be required at the full build-out of the region.

The study’s Technical Review Committee has representation from 13 municipalities, including Leduc County and the City of Beaumont. When completed, the ERNS will inform potential updates to municipal and provincial transportation policy documents and maps. If study outcomes recommend an alternate alignment for the HLC route, opportunities will be pursued accordingly.

Development:

RMA appreciates the Ministry of Transportation and Economic Corridors response to this resolution and their commitment to the ERNS. Although the ENRS is a promising study and the results will be beneficial for those in the area, there is still a need to review for the rest of the province’s HLC Routes. The ENRS will help address concerns when completed, but as these issues are current and ongoing, there is a need for an interim solution. TEC may be able to identify areas in which these concerns are similar to those which were occurring in the Edmonton Region and recreate the study so that results can be compared to the ENRS when completed.

The RMA looks forward to seeing the results of the HLC, however as this does not encompass the province as a whole, the resolution has been assigned a status of Intent Not Met.

Provincial Ministries:
Transportation
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