The Government of Alberta announced that construction is underway on the twinning of Highway 3, between Taber and Burdett, kicking off a multi-year initiative to twin the highway from the B.C. border to Medicine Hat.

Highway 3 is a vital economic corridor serving as the primary east-west link for southern Alberta and the major connector between Saskatchewan and British Columbia, south of the Trans-Canada Highway. The budget for this project is $170 million.

“This highway is critical infrastructure in support of the growing agri-food processing industry, and the movement of commercial traffic in the region in an efficient and reliable manner. The vision to twin Highway 3 has been around for a long time and I’m glad we’re finally making this vision a reality,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors.

The growing agri-business and the continued development and expansion of agri-food processing plants has led to safety concerns regarding increased traffic volumes and congestion on Highway 3. Twinning reduces congestion and adds an extra layer of safety for all users, virtually eliminating the risk of head on collisions, giving travelers peace of mind on their journey.

“This twinning marks a transformative moment for Taber, with the project poised to significantly boost our local economy by improving access for our agricultural producers and attracting new businesses along the Highway 3 transportation corridor,” said Andrew Prokop, mayor, Town of Taber.

The first phase of construction is twinning 46 kilometres of Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett, which will create more than 750 jobs and promote economic growth throughout southern Alberta. Approximately 4,000 vehicles per day travel through this section of Highway 3.

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“We applaud the Government of Alberta, the Department of Transportation, and the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, the Hon. Devin Dreeshen, for their commitment to this vital and long-awaited project. The return on this investment will certainly be key, and timing critical for building Canada’s premier agri-food corridor,” said Bill Chapman, representing Highway 3 Twinning Development Association.

The project contract was awarded in the fall of 2023 and construction is now underway. This section will take about two years to complete and is anticipated to open to traffic in late 2025.

“As a vital economic corridor in this province, the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) is thrilled to see the Government of Alberta announce a historic investment to upgrade Highway 3. Twinning the section between Taber and Burdett means increased safety for AMTA members, Albertans, and visitors alike, all while ensuring our world-class goods and services can be shared safely with the world,” said Brad Beerling, board member, Alberta Motor Transport Association.

Full twinning of the 324 km highway, from border to border, is being split into eight sections to limit costs and avoid disruption to people that live and work along the route.

The eight sections of this project include:

  • Taber to Burdett (46 km)
  • Highway 3X/Coleman Bypass (14 km): Planning studies have been completed, an engineering contract has been awarded and design work will begin in mid-2024.
  • West of Seven Persons to Medicine Hat (36 km): Planning studies have been completed, the engineering contract has been awarded and design work is underway.
  • Blairmore to east of Highway 22 (21 km): Planning studies have been completed and engineering is expected to begin in fall 2024.
  • East of Highway 22 to east of Highway 6 at Pincher Creek (20 km): Planning studies have been completed and engineering is expected to begin in winter 2024.
  • East of Burdett to west of Seven Persons (30 km): A functional planning study has been completed and the province will continue to consult with the Town of Bow Island and other stakeholders  to finalize the alignment.
  • Pincher Creek to west of Fort Macleod (38 km): A functional planning study through the Piikani First Nation Reserve is underway and will continue for some time.
  • Alberta/B.C. border to Highway 3X. Continued engagement with B.C is necessary to consider alignment with improvements being planned through the B.C. portion.
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Featured image: (Government of Alberta)

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