Highway 3 considered a 'future project' by provincial government.

Lethbridge News NOW: TABER, AB – The rest of Highway 3 in Alberta could be doubled and divided, but just not yet.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver recently wrote to the Mayor of the Crowsnest Pass, informing him that functional planning studies are completed for two sections of the highway.

This includes Sentinel to Pincher Creek and west of Burdett to west of Taber.

“At this time, the Highway 3 twinning project is not on the Provincial Capital Plan and is considered a future project.”

Brooklyn Elhard, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Transportation, confirmed to LNN that this means both projects will be under consideration alongside all other capital infrastructure projects and has been identified as a priority.

She says the section through the Piikani Reserve remains to the studied in the future.

While the functional planning study for Sentinel to Pincher Creek through the Crowsnest Pass is still being reviewed and is not yet publicly-available, McIver said this section “presented difficulties due to limitations of the terrain, reduced availability of surrounding lands for right-of-way requirements while being mindful to leave room for community development, and other constraints.”

The full study for Burdett to Taber is available online.

This area typically sees anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 vehicles per day on the two-lane undivided highway.

“Over the last 10 years, the corridor has experienced slightly lower than typical growth rates.”

Were this section to receive approval from the province, it would happen in three stages – upgrades to the existing Highway 3 alignment with intersection improvements as needed, twin the existing highway beginning east of Taber with a four-lane realignment around Grassy Lake, and create a four-lane realignment around Taber.

For this to happen, some privately-owned lands would have to be acquired and some utility lines would have to be relocated.

The twinning of Highway 3 from west of Burdett to west of Taber is expected to cost $463.4-million.

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