Twinning study available at highway open house

Proposals to turn Hwy 11 into a freeway and twin Hwy 11A to Sylvan Lake will be updated at a pair of open houses in Red Deer Thursday.

Proposals to turn Hwy 11 into a freeway and twin Hwy 11A to Sylvan Lake will be updated at a pair of open houses in Red Deer Thursday.

Alberta Transportation has been looking at improving the two highways for a number of months.

One of the options being considered is to turn the already-twinned Hwy 11 into a freeway. A similar effort has been underway on Hwy 2 for years. Converting highways to freeways involves eliminating all at-level crossings and directing traffic to overpasses.

McElhaney Consulting has been hired to undertake a planning study for Hwy 11 from Hwy 2 to Sylvan Lake. The study will show how existing access points could be replaced and the firm is also reviewing options for improving the intersection of the two highways.

MMM Group Limited has been hired to undertake a functional planning study to look at twinning Hwy 11A and improving the access points.

Consultants plan to present the results of the functional planning study for the twinning project.

These are the second of three open houses for each of the projects, which are not expected to be undertaken for many years.

Alberta Transportation spokesman Trent Bancarz said the first open houses in June were mostly about gathering information.

“What people will see at the second open houses is they will see a range of options that we’ve looked at,” he said Tuesday. “The options will be a lot more developed than they were in the first open houses.”

The open houses have a useful way to gather the kind of local information that only people living in the area have, he said.

It will likely be quite a number of years before either of the projects move to the top of provincial lists, especially the freeway proposal. “That’s certainly at least a couple of decades out more than likely.”

Twinning Hwy 11A could happen sooner if traffic counts continue to climb as quickly as they have.

The joint open houses will take place at the Holiday Inn at 6500 67th St. in the Winspear Room from 4 to 8 p.m.

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