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Southern Alberta Section November Webinar: Hwy 3 FPS

November 17, 2020@12:00 pm to 1:00 pm MST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Come learn about the new plan for twinning and freeway-ifying Highway 3 through Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta! This planning study presented many design challenges: rugged terrain, rail tracks, major pipelines, abandoned mines, and a massive field of historic boulders. The recommended plan features roundabouts, wildlife underpasses, lots of cable barrier, and an interim divided 2-lane cross section.


Jack Mason, P.Eng.

Jack came to Calgary from Saskatoon in 2006 to design roads at ISL, and has been doing so ever since. Between 2017 and 2019, he spent many hours day and night on the functional plan for Highway 3. Like most of you, Jack has been working from home lately, but has managed to maintain a regular active commute by biking his daughters to daycare.

Alana Getty Somers, P.Eng.

Alana is responsible for leading ISL Calgary’s transportation team and was appointed to ISL’s Board of Directors in September 2020.  She has been involved with planning studies in both government/owner and consulting roles for over 20 years and was ISL’s PM for the 50+km FPS for twinning and upgrades on Highway 3 through Crowsnest Pass.  Alana has spent much of 2020 working at home, learning Google Classroom and various Fortnite Dances, and attempting dog training.

Project Description

A comprehensive planning study of Highway 3 was conducted in southwestern Alberta, between Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. Over nearly 3 years, ISL developed a plan for twinning and eventual freeway-ification of the 2-lane highway for the entirety of the 50km-long project area. Main objectives of the study included:

  • Identify the right of-way needed for the ultimate highway and interchanges
  • Create an interim plan for twinning the highway, and managing access to it
  • Conduct a study of animal vehicle collisions in the corridor, and develop interim and ultimate plans to promote safe wildlife movement across the highway
  • Conduct a review of historical resources along the corridor, and develop the highway plan to minimize impact to them
  • Engage and consult local officials and residents on the plan, ensuring the recommended plan meets their expectations, and Alberta Transportation’s requirements.

Previous studies of the area identified the need for the highway to be diverted around the town of Coleman (part of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass). This study developed a design for the realignment that balances the needs of local and regional stakeholders. Key constraints in this section included steep and rocky terrain, major high-pressure pipelines, the CP Rail tracks, the Crowsnest River and a significant wetland.

The highway right-of-way is also constrained by development and terrain for a long stretch of the project area, most notably by the Frank Slide debris field and associated historical sites. The debris field is a large area of loose boulders, from the collapse of Turtle Mountain in 1903. These constraints led to a series of design decisions that take the local context and stakeholder interests into account.

This presentation will focus on the unique constraints presented in this project, and discuss the many design decisions that coalesced to form the recommended plan.



November 17, 2020
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm MST
Event Category:




ITE Southern Alberta Section

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