Completion of a local section of Highway 3 realignment is not on the immediate horizon, despite its promise of more commerce and less congestion.

The Alberta government offered no firm commitment last week, but good news could come as early as next year for proponents of so-called Stage 1A at the east entrance to Fort Macleod. The project would access land for highway commercial development, potentially generating revenue for the province and the town.

“This project will be considered, among others, when (the province is) developing Budget 2025,” press secretary Jesse Furber of the transportation and economic corridors ministry said in an emailed statement to The Gazette.

In a letter to the province last fall, the Town of Fort Macleod envisioned truck stops, restaurants, hotels, stores and other enterprises on 130 acres of land accessed by the project. Jobs for Albertans, services for a growing town population, safer travel and reduced congestion will also result, the letter predicted.

“This prospective land sale is a boon for local commerce and a cornerstone for our community’s sustained growth and development,” said the letter approved Oct. 23 by council.

The town characterizes the project as shovel-ready, and Furber confirmed that planning, design and engineering are compete.

Part of a larger project to realign Highway 2 and Highway 3 at Fort Macleod, the stage involves realignment of three kilometres of the westbound lanes of Highway 3. Signals would be installed at the new stretch’s intersection with a proposed single-lane access road. The road would go where existing westbound lanes today send Highway 3 traffic into town.

Land worth about $40 million – more than half of it owned by the province, the rest by the town – would hit the market after the realignment. That means the province may even recoup costs, the town contends.

The town is at “a critical juncture of growth,” the letter says, noting that an increasing population has led to consistent demand for residential, industrial and commercial land.

Another important consideration is proximity to Macleod Landing, a subdivision of residential and commercial properties on the east end of town. Lot presales for Phase 1 opened earlier this month and buildings could start going up next year. 

Stage 1A is not part of the overall Highway 3 twinning project underway this spring, the transportation ministry confirmed. That one begins with a 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett.

Seven other sections of Highway 3 and Highway 3A are part of that plan to twin the corridor from Medicine Hat to the B.C. border.

By George Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 24, 2024 at 07:36

This item reprinted with permission from   Fort Macleod Gazette   Fort Macleod, Alberta

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