By Jamie Rieger
The Highway Three Twinning Development Association got the attention of Brian Mason, minister of Transportation about the ongoing safety issues on the thoroughfare.
The group met with Mason in Lethbridge on Mar. 23 to discuss safety, as well as economic diversification and recreation and tourism potential along the increasingly busy highway.
“It was a positive meeting and the Minister was very receptive to our points and concerns,” said chair, Bill Chapman.
The association indicated four main points to Mason, including traffic counts, one of the measuring tools used by Alberta Transportation when looking at twinning and upgrading provincial roads.
Safety is an ongoing concern along Highway Three and a big issue for the twinning development association.
Chapman pointed out that along a 49 kilometer stretch of highway near Bow Island there have been seven fatalities and 27 injuries in recent months.
Economic development and diversification was also a topic of discussion.
“The minister felt that this was the most important criteria and we told him that economic development along Highway Three was much more advanced that what was understood. With the agriculture industry and other industries moving goods every day, the economic diversification has increased and has put more pressure on the Highway Three corridor,” said Chapman.
Chapman also noted that tourism and recreation traffic is increasing in southern Alberta, adding to the increased volume of traffic along Highway Three.
“There is lots of east-west traffic, and traffic going to and from the States,” he said. “This corridor needs to be upgraded and twinned.”
Chapman said the meeting was productive in that it brought fresh awareness to the concerns over Highway Three, but said Mason did not indicate making twinning a priority during the two-hour meeting.
Mason did indicate that he was committed to reviewing the safety of Highway Three, as well as the traffic volume counts.
Bow Island mayor Gordon Reynolds attended the meeting and said he is not optimistic that the twinning of Highway Three will move up the Alberta Transportation priority list.
“We have no illusion that something is going to happen tomorrow,” said Reynolds. “We want them to use other information besides traffic counts when they make their decisions, such as the economic potential and safety issues. Overall, it was a good discussion.”