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;
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.
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 has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.