WHEREAS municipally owned resource roads are vital for the transportation of goods and services
related to the continuation of Alberta’s strong economy; and
WHEREAS Alberta continues to experience growth requiring constant improvement to and new construction of municipally owned resource roads; and
WHEREAS the Province of Alberta currently provides funding for resource roads on roads based on the criteria of a minimum average annual daily traffic of 400 vehicles per day for paving; and
WHEREAS roads in Northern Alberta require different consideration as they often the only means of access to industrial and commercial development areas;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend their policy for the Resource Road Program funding for paving to 300 vehicles per day for municipal resource roads in rural and remote Alberta.
Northern Sunrise County recently applied for Resource Road Program (RRP) funding from Alberta Transportation for Township Road 822 and did not receive approval due to not meeting the eligibility criteria of a minimum average annual daily traffic (AADT) or 400 vehicles per day for the paving portion of this program. In rural and remote areas of Alberta, these roads are often the only means of access for residents, businesses and industry, making these roads a lifeline for the local economy.
The materials required to build resource roads in remote areas are different than other areas of the province. For example, resource roads in northern Alberta are built on muskeg, making them very soft which incur very expensive and ongoing maintenance costs. These unique conditions plus the heavy loads of resource traffic result in the requirement of pavement to hold the roads together. In the absence of paving, northern municipalities can be required to bring in clay to replace the existing muskeg on resource roads. The AADT of 400 does not reflect these special conditions of northern Resource Roads requiring paving. The condition of 400 AADT for pavement for resource roads is difficult to attain in remote areas; however, due to the high impact of industry, these roads require paving.
In addition, in order to receive funding for the “through trips” of trucks, the distance required to travel to qualify as a “through trip” in remote areas is problematic. In a municipality such as Northern Sunrise County, a “through trip” could cover several hundred kilometers. The likelihood of trucks actually making a “through trip” on these roads is small, yet they are utilized to the same extent as “through roads” in smaller municipalities.
This is why these resource roads in rural and remote areas require a different policy for RRP funding.
Resoultion 4-09F (Awaiting Vote): THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to reinstate the funding to the Resource Road Program to the 51 Million as previously allocated.
Each year Alberta Transportation receives applications for many projects from throughout the province. To assess each submission fairly and objectively, an Interdepartmental Review Committee rates each application based on a number of factors, of which traffic volume is one. Other factors include truck volumes, industry value and road need/safety. This rating total is used to prioritize applications.
Once prioritized, each application is recommended for approval subject to budget availability under the Resource Road Program grant. This ensures that all applications receive an equitable review.
Specifically, in regard to AAMDC’s resolution of reducing the traffic volume criteria from greater than 400 vehicles per day to 300 vehicles per day in rural and remote areas, the department does not intend to lower the criteria/threshold for paving as it is not cost effective to pave a gravel road until Average Annual Daily Traffic exceeds 400 vehicles per day.
The Government of Alberta continues to not show support for any change in criteria that would allow for more applicants into over-subscribed programs. The AAMDC will continue to emphasize the unique situations of rural and remote areas, especially where the roads in question are the only means of access to industrial and commercial developments.