Those interested in future plans for transforming Highway 11 west of Sylvan Lake to a four-lane expressway and then ultimately a freeway will have a chance to view proposals by consultants at an open house in Benalto next Tuesday (June 11).
The event will take place from 4-8 p.m. at Benalto Community Hall.
Sylvan Lake councillors listened to a detailed explanation of the access study during their meeting May 27.
Karim Abbany and Joey Sherstabetoff, with AMEC, explained their study looks at the area from west of the Highway 781 intersection to the Highway 766 south intersection just west of Eckville.
“The intersection treatment at 781 is outside the scope of our study,” said Sherstabetoff.
Moving to expressway status, said Abbany means there would be accesses to Highway 11 provided at local road intersections a minimum of 1.6 kilometres apart. Then freeway status would mean the only accesses to the highway would be at interchanges.
“This project is the planning stage, this is not on any construction schedule,” he said.
When construction moves ahead for twinning and expressway status, Sherstabetoff said all direct accesses such as those to private residences and field accesses will be closed. The study indicates how people affected by these changes will be able to get on and off the highway through a series of service roads.
“We really didn’t change much from the plan presented a year ago,” he said, referring to an open house which took place in Benalto last June.
He detailed the proposal for potential realignment of the main access into Benalto by lining it up with Range Road 25. The current Township Road 390 access (formerly Highway 11A) would be moved east to use Range Road 24 so that the one mile (1.6 km) spacing between accesses to the highway is maintained.
Once the change is made to freeway status an interchange is recommended somewhere in the area of Range Road 25.
An interchange is also indicated on Sylvan Lake’s west side at Range Road 15.
The types of interchanges recommended were also presented.
Abbany indicated Alberta Transportation would do a separate study on an interchange in the Highway 766 north and south area.
Asked about timing, the pair indicated it’s going to be a long way out. “It’s all going to depend on development in the area and traffic volumes.” They noted Highway 2 between Calgary and Red Deer is still in the process of converting to freeway status.
Abbany stressed, “this is in the planning stages. It’s not scheduled for any construction. There’s no timeline for construction. The purpose is so it’s documented so when they (Alberta Transportation) looks at timing they have something to refer to for access.”
Planning also gives residents and others affected by changes advance notice of what’s proposed.