Highway changes still years away

Future plans to turn Hwy 11 into a freeway and to twin Hwy 11A were shared with Central Alberta residents at two open houses on Thursday.

Future plans to turn Hwy 11 into a freeway and to twin Hwy 11A were shared with Central Alberta residents at two open houses on Thursday.

While both plans’ functional designs are to be revealed in 2010, actual work on Hwy 11A might not be done for 10 to 15 years. The Hwy 11 changes could be 20 to 30 years away, depending on traffic volumes and other factors.

Area resident Pat Chiasson said she can wait.

The Hwy 11A twinning project, she believes, will go straight through her present residence, which is situated right next to the highway.

If her house needs to be sacrificed for the wider road, Chiasson expects adequate compensation from the province. But she admitted, “I’d rather keep what I have.”

Chiasson and a neighbour wondered why Aspelund Road isn’t twinned instead of Hwy 11A — especially since a lot of traffic seems to turn off Hwy 11 and head north along R.R. 283 to Aspelund Road.

Brian Reid, infrastructure manager for Alberta Transportation, said it’s all about traffic volume. The province starts looking at twinning highways when they are used by 10,000 vehicles a day. Hwy 11A has up to 8,000 vehicles a day. It’s busier than Aspelund Road.

Several changes to boost safety are being contemplated to go along with the widening. Since Hwy 11A is a correction road, many range roads on the south side of the highway do not meet up with roads on the north side. Reid said these would have to be realigned so they do meet, reducing the number of intersections along Hwy 11A.

Some private driveways also now come directly off Hwy 11A, but once the highway is twinned, Reid said all landowners would have to access their properties from less busy side roads.

“A lot of us never expected this would happen in our lifetime, but that’s what happens with progress,” said Red Deer County Councillor George Gehrke, who attended the open house at Red Deer’s Holiday Inn north. Gehrke believes the changes are reasonable, in terms of reducing accidents and improving public safety.

In both highway proposals, new access roads are planned to ultimately connect with a future ring road that would be built around Red Deer.

But in the Hwy 11 freeway plan, all smaller intersections would be closed between this ring road access — built somewhere between Burnt Lake Trail and Poplar Ridge, and the Hwy 20 access near Sylvan Lake.

This means anyone living between the two access roads — even producers who farm land on both sides of Hwy 11 — would have to drive their vehicles, or transport farm equipment, along gravel back roads to Sylvan Lake or the Red Deer Ring Road to access Hwy 11.

One farmer, who declined to be named, said he’d be in the position of having to make this great detour. But as he’ll be older than 100 in 30 years time, he isn’t worrying about it.

Another farmer said by the time Hwy 11, which now has 15,000 cars a day, is a busy six-lane freeway with more than 30,000 cars, it would be too dangerous to cross at a stop sign intersection anyway.

Brenda and Myron Senko like the idea of their nearest range road losing access to Hwy 11. “It suits us perfectly, because it would be quieter,” said Brenda, referring to reduced traffic.

More public open houses on the plans will be held this year. The Hwy 11 functional plan, with more details on proposed changes, will be completed in April.

The Hwy 11 A plan is also to be ready next spring.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month