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WHEREAS travelers in emergency situations have great difficulty expressing where emergency scenes are located along provincial highways; and
WHEREAS the extra time and effort to locate accident scenes affects response and the ability to save lives or relieve suffering at an accident scene; and
WHEREAS previously, some municipalities have placed highway kilometer markers only to have them removed by Alberta Transportation, as they no longer meet Alberta Transportation’s standard, leaving the public with no means to identify where they are located; and
WHEREAS the placement of signage to ensure safety of the traveling public is the responsibility of Alberta Transportation;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties advocate that the Government of Alberta be held accountable for placing highway kilometer markers at regular intervals along provincial highways that are under the Government of Alberta’s management, control and responsibility, on highways that pass through vast tracts of Crown lands where there are no township road and range road signs, so that Albertans and visitors can have a means to identify where they are during emergency situations.
Using Highway 44, Highway 2 and Athabasca north of Westlock as an example, travelers along this highway and beyond find themselves in forested areas with no reference and vast stretches of highway between urban centres. This is exacerbated in adverse weather conditions. Moreover, locals who are acquainted with the land can have difficulty in identifying their location. This worsens the further north people travel.
Alberta Transportation determines what signage it will fund and what signage it will not fund. For example, they will pay for signage to restrict quad usage and ATV usage in right of ways, yet they will not fund basic markers that could save lives or at least give people a sense of their whereabouts. Furthermore, they will take down signs that have been in existence for at least 25 years without notification to area municipalities without providing an acceptable means of replacement.
We are aware that several northern municipalities, namely the Municipal District of Opportunity, Mackenzie County and Northern Sunrise County are to the point of acting, where the government has not, to ensure safety of the traveling public. We find ourselves at Lesser Slave River in the same situation as these municipalities wherein morally we will have to act in the public interest.
However, it is our belief that provincial tax dollars should fund provincial infrastructure. We believe that highway markers are provincial infrastructure. Thus, we ask that the members of the AAMDC join us in holding the Government of Alberta accountable for this infrastructure by funding their placement along highways in 2015.
14-04S: Mileage Signage Markers Along Provincial Highways
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to provide appropriate location signage on highways under their jurisdiction which currently do not have adequate identification markers.
DEVELOPMENT (as of 2007):
The government has moved to establish criteria for the installation of identification markers along remote highways to assist travelers and emergency response agencies. The government is also looking at possibly installing exit markers at strategic locations on major routes such as the North-South trade corridor.
DEVELOPMENT (as of 2014):
The Government of Alberta has established criteria for the installation of mileage markers on highways and roads in remote locations. These criteria are found in the Government of Alberta’s Highway Sign and Information Guide Manual. The criteria specify that kilometre markers are only permitted on remote highways “where the number of significant crossroads averages less than one access every 10 km for a minimum distance of 100 km. Significant crossroads consist of numbered highways, township roads, range roads and local named roads.” Even when a remote highway or road meets this criteria, kilometre markers will be installed on an as-requested basis only. If a local government or private business wishes to install kilometre markers, they must receive authorization from the Government of Alberta.
Transportation: As mentioned in the resolution, Alberta Transportation has a process in place for these markers. Municipalities can apply for a permit and install these markers at their cost. However, with the advancement in Global Positioning System and other location technologies, the usefulness of these markers has waned.
The intent of the resolution is to have Alberta Transportation be responsible for placing highway kilometer markers on provincial highways. While there is a process currently in place that allows municipalities to provide kilometer markers that meet provincial standards at their own expense, this creates an inconsistent patchwork of markers, and essentially places the responsibility for maximizing the safety of provincial highways onto municipalities.
Additionally, while the advancement of GPS and other location technologies may make these markers unnecessary in some cases, many older vehicles are not equipped with GPS systems, making the kilometer markers important, particularly in life-threatening situations.
As Alberta Transportation has shown no willingness to take on this responsibility, this resolution has a status of Intent Not Met.