June 13th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 24
Highway 3X: Proposed route from Sentinel to Blairmore presented
Open house also proposes routes for Blairmore to Pincher Station
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
photo courtesy of ISL
The proposed route for Stage 1A (from Sentinel to east Blairmore) was presented at the recent open house. The northern purple route is the current Highway 3, which would turn into the “business route” once the Highway is twinned. The southern blue route is the Highway 3X “truck route” intended to bypass Coleman and carry through-traffic.
Pass Herald Reporter
ISL Engineering and Land Services presented the draft recommended route for twinning Highway 3 from Sentinel to east Blairmore at an open house in Coleman on June 7 and in Lundbreck on June 9. The open house also presented functional plan options for Hillcrest to Pincher Station.

Stage 1A

The open house presented concept drawings of what the route and interchanges would look from east Blairmore to Sentinel, called Stage 1A.

Concept drawings showed how the route would affect the landscape visually. The graphics also presented flyover and underpass options, as well as what the interim solutions would look like until capacity is reached, which would prompt construction of the ultimate plan.

Two-way single lanes will be constructed at the interim stage of Highway 3X. As interim options, roundabouts, traffic lights or stop signs will direct traffic at several existing key intersections that may later be accommodated either by on/off ramps or overpass/underpass. The ultimate plan is to have a four-lane Highway 3X.

The proposal for Stage 1A is to have a "business route" - the existing Highway 3 - and a proposed "truck route", the four-lane Highway 3X intended to accommodate traffic by-passing Crowsnest Pass.
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Heading west, the twinned Highway 3X splits into the business route and the proposed truck route north of approximately 129 Street in Blairmore. The truck route continues south of the business route.

Access to 129 Street would be closed. To access downtown Blairmore, drivers would take a ramp off of the truck route onto the business route and go on an overpass that then connects to 129 Street.

From the split, the truck route then runs through River Run property, south of the Crowsnest Mall as an overpass above 20 Avenue and just south of the wetlands. Continuing south of Coleman and loosely paralelling the high-pressure pipeline that runs through Crownest Pass, a small section of the truck route passes through the Luscar Lands on the south end. The truck route and business route converge just west of Allison Creek Road.

Stage 1B & 2

The open house also presented concept routes for Stage 1B and 2, which cover east Blairmore to east Hillcrest and Hillcrest to Pincher Station, respectively. For this section of highway, the existing Highway 3 is twinned with little divergence.

Three ultimate options were proposed for Frank and Bellevue/Hillcrest.

All three proposals close current existing access into Frank. To access Frank heading in the west direction, drivers would take a ramp off into the town just before reaching Frank. To access Frank heading east, drivers would need to pass the town, take a ramp off Highway 3X and backtrack west to the town. The proposed road and interchanges that would lead back to Frank require construction in a section of the Frank rock slide.
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Option 3 presents a route where a new proposed local road in Blairmore continues east, paralleling Highway 3X, connects with a local road in Frank and continues into Bellevue through the Frank rock slide, connecting at 21 Avenue in Bellevue. Of the three, this is the only option with a continuous local road network between Blairmore and Bellevue. However, it requires additional impact to the rock slide to construct the local connection.

From there, only one route is presented until Cowley, for which there are two route options. Local road arteries are proposed for construction that connect to Lundbreck, Highway 22, Cowley and the landfill.


According to ISL and the municipality, twinning Highway 3 is necessary to improve safety and capacity issues along the corridor.

The objective is to complete a draft functional plan for Stages 1A, 1B and 2 by winter 2019 and have a final functional plan approved by spring 2019. A public information session is anticipated to take place in fall 2018.

The plans are available to view online at transportation.alberta.ca/6087.htm. Feedback on the project can be submitted until Friday, June 22, 2018 by emailing hwy3fps@islengineering.com
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June 13th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 24
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