After a couple years of negotiation, the City of Red Deer is starting the expropriate process to gain about 72 hectares needed to widen Hwy 11A from west of Taylor Drive to Hwy 2.
Three Red Deer landowners are involved. They were informed that they have 21 days to object if they want an inquiry to be held.
Negotiations about the value of the needed land can continue in the interim. But if no agreement is reached on price, the Land Compensation Board will make the determination and the city and landowners must abide by this final ruling, said Russ Watts, development and transportation engineer for the City of Red Deer.
“This isn’t the first time the city is expropriating, but I wouldn’t say it’s too common,” Watts added, noting the aim is always to come to a negotiated agreement with the landowner.
But if that goal can’t be reached, and project construction dates are looming, he said the city has to start the expropriation process in order to purchase private land that’s needed for road widenings and intersection improvements.
The Hwy 11A widening, rail overpass, and intersection improvement project is supposed to begin next spring. Watts said this is the western-most portion of the Northlands Drive project, which is being completed in phases.
Also known as the North Highway Connector project, the entire route is meant to eventually improve traffic access between northwest and southeast Red Deer as the city grows.
In the shorter term, Watts said the widened section of Hwy 11A will allow for new residential, commercial and industrial development to be started near Hazlett Lake in the northwest of Red Deer.
City of Red Deer officials have been negotiating with eight property owners to acquire all the land that’s needed for the highway widening since 2019. Successful agreements were already reached with five of them, said Watts.
The expropriation process is expected to wrap up in October.