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Thread: Mountains?

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    Default Mountains?

    Time to change my somewhat regular lurker status to the one thread poster..
    I may be stretching it somewhat with this question, but there must be some people here that love cruising the countryside around Edmonton. I was talking to someone at work who recalled working near a tiny hamlet called Lindale, which is east of Drayton Valley. (Shows up on Google Earth). He could see the mountains in the distance from some hilly country in the area. My challenge is to find the closest mountain view to Edmonton. Any suggestions? This was all started by someone else working at the north east point of Sylvan Lake and being able to see the mountains from there.

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    Alberta's highways run north and south, east and west. Unfortunately for Edmontonians, the most direct route to the mountains would be to head almost exactly south-west.

    Boosters have proposed building a road from Devon directly to Nordegg. Travel time would be about two hours. Here's an article on the topic: http://apps.business.ualberta.ca/rmo...%20highway.pdf.

    "Connecting this part of the Rockies to the world via Edmonton would open a new area of the province to more Albertans and international tourist; and would relieve some of the pressure on Calgary’s airport, hotels, restaurants, tour agencies, and roads by shifting more of Alberta’s tourism business here. I’m sure all good Edmontonians would want to help Calgary in this way."
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    Closest mountain hmm the problem is the term mountain, its somewhat vague, Saskatchewan calls Mount Blackstrap a mountain when its just a manmade ski hill

    Possible candidates are;
    Coliseum Mountain near Nordegg
    http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=52...layers=B000FTF

    Folding Mountain near Hinton
    http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Foldi...Hinton-AB-2046

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    If you're driving out on Highway 16 you can see the mountains just after you pass Edson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Grovenor View Post
    Alberta's highways run north and south, east and west. Unfortunately for Edmontonians, the most direct route to the mountains would be to head almost exactly south-west.

    Boosters have proposed building a road from Devon directly to Nordegg. Travel time would be about two hours. Here's an article on the topic: http://apps.business.ualberta.ca/rmo...%20highway.pdf.

    "Connecting this part of the Rockies to the world via Edmonton would open a new area of the province to more Albertans and international tourist; and would relieve some of the pressure on Calgary’s airport, hotels, restaurants, tour agencies, and roads by shifting more of Alberta’s tourism business here. I’m sure all good Edmontonians would want to help Calgary in this way."

    VERY cool, love the idea but doubt it will ever happen...
    i love lamp

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    it's pretty much 2hrs in any direction before you see mountains. you can see them just past Olds on hwy 2.
    it never ceases to amaze me when I enter that county by olds. big sign on the side of hwy 2 "Now entering Mountain View County". I laugh and look around at the flat farm fields, until I see the mountains on the horizon in the west.

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    ^^I agree, They all of a sudden just appear..
    I'm going to the Sylvan lake site tomorrow to work, I will see if the mountains are visible. Not sure what got me on this kick, not like seeing them actually brings them any closer..
    I had heard of the 'as the crow flies' road to Nordegg, never going to happen I am sure..

  8. #8

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    If you drive to Drayton Valley, then past Lodgepole, and go further on 620

    You can get a good view of the mountains as early as Brazeau Reservoir. Approx 150km from Edmonton. (from Google Earth, apology for the size I don't know how to scale it down)




    Go further and you begin to see better mountain views well before coming to O' Chiese First Nations band.

    Not a great road at times but nice country.

    About 180kms from Edmonton and better views than from Edson.

    http://www.ochiese.ca/default.aspx?ID=Community

    I haven't been to Lindale but will have to check that out sometime too.
    Last edited by Replacement; 13-11-2009 at 09:26 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdimedru View Post
    http://apps.business.ualberta.ca/rmorck/Columns/Nordegg%20highway.pdf[/url].

    "Connecting this part of the Rockies to the world via Edmonton would open a new area of the province to more Albertans and international tourist; and would relieve some of the pressure on Calgary’s airport, hotels, restaurants, tour agencies, and roads by shifting more of Alberta’s tourism business here. I’m sure all good Edmontonians would want to help Calgary in this way."


    VERY cool, love the idea but doubt it will ever happen...
    Agreed, 2 hours to the rockies would be fantastic, but can you imagine how farmers would react to having their farms cut into pieces?

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    ^It would be great, granted the farmers would have some right to complain about their farmland..
    I had great mountain views east of Sylvan Lake today. Very nice rolling terrain out there. Was working right off of the NE tip of the lake, but saw the mountains from further east already. About 120 km as the crow flies, according to google earth. The Lindale site I mentioned earlier is about 145 km, and the terrain is 'view permitting' as in, it is a fairly pronounced high spot in the area.

  11. #11

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    Ok I'll answer your question. You can see the mountains only 55 min away from Edmonton. It has to be a clear day and binoculars can enhance the view because you do have to squint a bit to see them, but they're there. HWY 770 south after passing through the Stony Plain area. Drive to a highpoint near Genesee and voila.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...6&ie=UTF8&z=10

  12. #12

    Default Highway from Edmonton to nordegg

    Anyone ever hear about this? This would make the Rockies closer then ever!
    http://www.business.ualberta.ca/Rand...ggHighway.ashx

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    ^ the first couple of posts have that same link...

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    I used to have a plane, and on a very clear day the mountains could be seen while flying 1,000 feet about the city. I know, that's cheating!
    Fly Edmonton first. Support EIA

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    it's pretty much 2hrs in any direction before you see mountains. you can see them just past Olds on hwy 2.
    Last time on Highway 2 I noticed you can see them just past Red Deer as you come off a hill down into Innisfail, I guess about 1 hour 45 from Edmonton.

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    I tried to delete it but I guess it didn't lol. Does anyone know anything about that article!? Who did it and what's up with it???

  17. #17

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    In case anyone else ever stumbles across this thread and seeks the Devon-to-Nordegg Highway article which is mentioned above but for which the links are obsolete, here is a link which is valid as of July 2014:

    http://professor.business.ualberta.c...ggHighway.ashx

    An interesting proposal to most Edmontonians, I'd think, especially leaving costs out of the discussion. Unfortunately, costs would likely be very high. Consider that the Henday ring road (built in a land corridor already set aside and paid for) and the twinning of Hwy 63 to Ft. McMurray (alongside an existing roadway, where moving equipment, supplies and labour is relatively easy) cost well over a billion dollars each. One would have to expect the cost of a new Devon-Nordegg highway to be similar.

  18. #18

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    ^
    I would love that, but, as you said, Rosy, unlikely to happen. About the only way that would happen if someone could make resource money off the area, like underground gold mining or diamonds.

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    A Devon-Nordegg Highway would likely require quite a bit of property acquisition.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    A Devon-Nordegg Highway would likely require quite a bit of property acquisition.
    Indeed, but not quite as much as one would expect. Highway 620 between Devon and the Brazeau Reservoir is already a nice diagnol line. We just need to extend the road, mostly through bush rather then farmer's field from the look of the satellite, from Brazeau to Nordegg.

    Alternate route in black,from Google Maps:
    Last edited by Ustauk; 14-07-2014 at 06:04 PM.

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    I think you are confusing Devon with Drayton Valley.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    I think you are confusing Devon with Drayton Valley.
    Doh! You're right , my bad


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  23. #23

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    Here's the Daft Logic Google Distance Calculator map of the direct route.



    Alder Flats lies at the halfway mark on this line between Devon and Nordegg. Everything from Devon to Alder Flatts appears to be farmland, and I imagine negotiating with that many farmers and paying them funds for the right of way would be quite the logistical and financial headache. From Alder Flatts to Nordegg, it looks like you're dealing with bush, which will have its own challenges.

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    Bush and this thing call terrain

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Bush and this thing call terrain
    Agreed; I imagine the terrain must be pretty rugged in that section of the foot hills; otherwise, the farmland would have extended closer to the mountains then Alder Flats.

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    I wonder if it might be first nations land as well? Although that could be a good thing if a partnership could be entered into (re building road, maintaining, casinos on the way, etc.).

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    ^There's no reserves between the Brazeau Reservoir and Nordegg along a diagonal line. The O'Chiese reserve is to the east of the line. There are plenty of oilfield and forestry access roads crisscrossing the area. The only major obstacles would be the Nordegg River and some hills just north of Nordegg.

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    Aside from the construction costs, I wonder how much the acquisition costs would be for the farmland northeast of Alder Flats, not to mention what kind of opposition you'd run into. Since the land, like most roads, is also surveyed in a north-south orientation, you end turning a nice rectangular fields into two triangular fields crossed by a highway. The farmer will have to go who knows how far out of the way to find a safe crossing to his or her field, not to mention the farmer may own other lands not bisected by, but near to either side of the highway that they'll have to also cross to and from to get to. I could see a lot of rural folks being angry at the city folk for taking their land just for a shortcut to the mountains, even if it gives them quicker access to Edmonton, too.

    Probably between the great costs of the road and the likely opposition, short of gold or diamonds being found in the Nordegg foothills, I don't see this road being built

  29. #29

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    Folks, I wanted to resurrect this as it's definitely a pretty interesting topic. While I understand that there would be significant push back against an initiative to build a new green-field (or green/brown in this case) route to the mountains, would we not expect Edmonton's politicians to at least press the issue?

    The fact of the matter is that, as our population continues to grow, this can only become a more important issue. Having one of the world's greatest recreational areas under a 2 hr driving distance (well within the range of a day trip) to a major (and rapidly growing) metropolis, and almost half of the Province's populous, is a massive opportunity. That's a big difference to the current 4 hr drive time.

    Moreover, I don't think the cost picture is as dire as we would envision. Land acquisition aside, this would be a purely recreational route (similar to the Kananaskis Trail South of Hwy 1 in K-Country) with the Yellowhead being the primary Trade & materials route. So you are talking a much tighter footprint.

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    Just taking a quick glance at google maps it looks like it's about 1h45m from Devon to Brazeau Dam currently on roads already in place. If this road were to be built, there's no way it goes ahead without Drayton Valley being in the mix anyway. So rather than a straight(ish) diagonal line from Devon to Nordegg, if we consider a curved line this could mostly use roads that are already in place and probably need upgrading anyway. The only new portion would be from Brazeau Dam straight to Nordegg. Currently Devon to Brazeau (or more accurately, Sunchild Road Road) is about 1hr 45m. That location to Nordegg is 1h 10m. So currently we're looking at 3 hours. A straight line from Sunchild Road Road to just outside Nordegg is 52km, so effectively half the travel time/distance as the current option.


    Would it be worthwhile from a cost/benefit standpoint to look at a sub 3hr one-way trip to the mountains vs 2hr if the cost was significantly lower and it included rehab for a lot of already existing highways? I'd bet a lot of businesses along that route would be interested, not to mention it brings more tourism to Brazeau area.



    Or better yet, here's a google map with the route I'm thinking of. 209km almost entirely on existing roads aside from that last 50km stretch. Although that stretch goes straight through the Aurora Natural Area. So clearly there would still be issues.
    Last edited by Alex.L; 27-12-2017 at 12:11 PM.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    Just taking a quick glance at google maps it looks like it's about 1h45m from Devon to Brazeau Dam currently on roads already in place. If this road were to be built, there's no way it goes ahead without Drayton Valley being in the mix anyway. So rather than a straight(ish) diagonal line from Devon to Nordegg, if we consider a curved line this could mostly use roads that are already in place and probably need upgrading anyway. The only new portion would be from Brazeau Dam straight to Nordegg. Currently Devon to Brazeau (or more accurately, Sunchild Road Road) is about 2hr 20m. That location to Nordegg is 1h 10m. So currently we're looking at 3h 30m. A straight line from Sunchild Road Road to just outside Nordegg is 52km, so effectively half the travel time/distance as the current option.
    http://s4.photobucket.com/user/a_lak...egg_1.png.html
    (sorry, I can't seem to get these to just show up as pictures)

    Would it be worthwhile from a cost/benefit standpoint to look at a 3hr one-way trip to the mountains vs 2hr if the cost was significantly lower and it included rehab for a lot of already existing highways? I'd bet a lot of businesses along that route would be interested, not to mention it brings more tourism to Brazeau area.

    http://s4.photobucket.com/user/a_lak...egg 2.png.html

    Or better yet, here's a google map with the route I'm thinking of. 209km almost entirely on existing roads aside from that last 50km stretch.
    That last map if fantastic and shows just how plausible this idea is. You can even high grade it by building a few smaller cut-across sections other than the main Brazeau-Nordegg one (i.e. 170St in Edmonton diagonal to Hwy 19/60 jct just outside Devon & Hwy19/60 jct diagonal to 622/39 Jct just North of Thorsby).

    This route would even work well from the perspective of all up connectivity to Central Edmonton. The city has already defined 170St as a future connector to Whitemud Drive as it is essentially Terwilleger drive inside Edmonton and will also be the future link to the YEG. This would provide great connectivity for tourists directly from YEG and also folks right in the heart of Edmonton.

    Honestly I think it really just takes someone with a lot of pull to champion this idea and push. It's actually not that contentious when you break it down and has HUGE positive ramifications for almost half our Province's population.

  32. #32

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    ^Its always been a great "idea", but who is going to buy up the land to do it? Also, the NDP don't really need support in Edmonton, so don't expect any projects anytime soon that are going to upset rural people - all the money over the next 19months is earmarked for cowtown to try and win votes for the NDP where they need them most.

    Nordegg certainly looks nice enough:

    Last edited by moahunter; 27-12-2017 at 12:22 PM.

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    As mentioned earlier in the thread, property acquisition will be the biggest cost for a new highway to Nordegg. There's farms, oilfields and gas reserves.

    I'm glad Sunchild is mentioned because that is the name of a rather large indigenous reservation northeast of Nordegg. Getting a new highway through their land will cost a lot of time, negotiation and money. Look how long it took to cut a deal with the Tsuu T'ina to build the SW Calgary ring road. And same with that road, many concerns with the environment, wetlands, etc will be raised as well.

    Rather than building a new highway, I would rather that they improve the Yellowhead Hwy to Jasper with bypasses and interchanges and having a dedicated rail service between Edmonton and Jasper.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    if I have time later I might go a little more in-detail for that last stretch. I zoomed in and there are already quite a few road and clear-cuts for power lines through there that could make things easier, topography-wise. It would also improve access to the Nordegg airport.

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    I wonder if the road between Highway 620 (Elk River Road, by Brazeau Dam) to the Forestry Trunk Road could be upgraded to a secondary highway.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    As mentioned earlier in the thread, property acquisition will be the biggest cost for a new highway to Nordegg. There's farms, oilfields and gas reserves.

    I'm glad Sunchild is mentioned because that is the name of a rather large indigenous reservation northeast of Nordegg. Getting a new highway through their land will cost a lot of time, negotiation and money. Look how long it took to cut a deal with the Tsuu T'ina to build the SW Calgary ring road. And same with that road, many concerns with the environment, wetlands, etc will be raised as well.

    Rather than building a new highway, I would rather that they improve the Yellowhead Hwy to Jasper with bypasses and interchanges and having a dedicated rail service between Edmonton and Jasper.
    Agree on rail service SDM, but the drop in time by road is so significant that I really don't see the Yellowhead being even remotely competitive. A 2ish hour commute to the mountains from YEG would legitimately change the internal/external perspective of this city wrt the Mountains. We'd legitimately be considered a "resort" destination globally, similar to YYC.

    Also, I echo everyone's concerns on the political bottlenecks and hurdles. That's incredibly unfortunate when you consider the magnitude of the opportunity. As for first nations, I actually don't think there would be any directly on this proposed route of existing roads and the two major cut-throughs (one in greater Edmonton by Devon and the other being the Brazeau - Nordegg connector).

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    if I have time later I might go a little more in-detail for that last stretch. I zoomed in and there are already quite a few road and clear-cuts for power lines through there that could make things easier, topography-wise. It would also improve access to the Nordegg airport.
    Awesome! I contacted David Staples about running a story on it if it has legs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    As mentioned earlier in the thread, property acquisition will be the biggest cost for a new highway to Nordegg. There's farms, oilfields and gas reserves.

    I'm glad Sunchild is mentioned because that is the name of a rather large indigenous reservation northeast of Nordegg. Getting a new highway through their land will cost a lot of time, negotiation and money. Look how long it took to cut a deal with the Tsuu T'ina to build the SW Calgary ring road. And same with that road, many concerns with the environment, wetlands, etc will be raised as well.

    Rather than building a new highway, I would rather that they improve the Yellowhead Hwy to Jasper with bypasses and interchanges and having a dedicated rail service between Edmonton and Jasper.
    First Nations only need to be consulted if NOT going through the reserve. If going through the reserve, then there are negotiations.

    There appears to be some merit here. I would encourage you to contact the local MLAs, Mark Smith and Jason Nixon, to find out about any local considerations, like the O'Chiese First Nation trucks stop that would be bypassed.

    Now just to add fuel to the fire here, it is only one hour from Nordegg to North Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff National Park and the mouth of the the Howse Pass. 66 km of new road could easily be built from here to the Trans-Canada Highway #1 just north west of Golden BC. 22 km of this is through national park. 44 km is through British Columbia, of which, much of the route is already logging road. Trees through the pass as in their natural death cycle or so reports are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jackson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    As mentioned earlier in the thread, property acquisition will be the biggest cost for a new highway to Nordegg. There's farms, oilfields and gas reserves.

    I'm glad Sunchild is mentioned because that is the name of a rather large indigenous reservation northeast of Nordegg. Getting a new highway through their land will cost a lot of time, negotiation and money. Look how long it took to cut a deal with the Tsuu T'ina to build the SW Calgary ring road. And same with that road, many concerns with the environment, wetlands, etc will be raised as well.

    Rather than building a new highway, I would rather that they improve the Yellowhead Hwy to Jasper with bypasses and interchanges and having a dedicated rail service between Edmonton and Jasper.
    First Nations only need to be consulted if NOT going through the reserve. If going through the reserve, then there are negotiations.

    There appears to be some merit here. I would encourage you to contact the local MLAs, Mark Smith and Jason Nixon, to find out about any local considerations, like the O'Chiese First Nation trucks stop that would be bypassed.

    Now just to add fuel to the fire here, it is only one hour from Nordegg to North Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff National Park and the mouth of the the Howse Pass. 66 km of new road could easily be built from here to the Trans-Canada Highway #1 just north west of Golden BC. 22 km of this is through national park. 44 km is through British Columbia, of which, much of the route is already logging road. Trees through the pass as in their natural death cycle or so reports are.
    There is a great thread on that elsewhere on the board. I think it even has a drone-shot time lapse video of the proposed route. If either project goes forward it is a huge boon to the other route.

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    Howse Pass thread here - and if you read through, it may not as easy as people think:
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/showt...e-Pass-Highway
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    Here's a potential route from Brazeau Dam to meet up with the existing highway to Nordegg I came up with. I, of course, have no expertise on building roads, or any of that. I was just trying to follow existing cut lines, roads, etc to get a sense of how much of it would actually have to be brand new road. The answer is not as much as one might think, but with all the cutting back and forth around things this shortcut ends up around 60km,



    compared to the current options which are:


    So realistically right now the fastest route (according to Google) is 269km and 2h 46m, while this new alignment (full of flaws, mind you), would be 222km. If designed to secondary highway standards that would be just a hair over 2h.

    The question I'd ask is whether a few hundred million dollars, potentially compromising natural areas and having to negotiate property expropriation is worth knocking that 45 minutes off the drive. While I'm still open to the idea, I'm starting to think that money might be better spent promoting that Nordegg is the closest mountain option for Edmontonians, and building up some tourist attractions there, etc. Maybe focusing on upgrading the existing route (traffic circles vs some intersections, roadside turnouts, etc. would be the better use of whatever money was going to this. If there is interest, this could be a great option for a bus service.

    After this exercise I'll definitely be making Nordegg a priority for my camping next Spring/Summer.
    Last edited by Alex.L; 28-12-2017 at 10:47 AM.

  42. #42

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    If it did pass through first nations land, it might actually be a massive opportunity for the nations impacted - i.e. think of the casino / hotel at the Kananaskis turnoff.

    I do think Jasper is too far from Edmonton to ever be an easy weekend resort. Calgary is almost as close to Jasper on travel time as Edmonton is, only one hour different (and a much prettier drive up the Ice Fields highway). Any better link to the mountains would be a big benefit for Edmonton - 2 hours would be awesome. 3 - not so much. A four hour round trip is very different from a six hour one.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-12-2017 at 10:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    If it did pass through first nations land, it might actually be a massive opportunity for the nations impacted - i.e. think of the casino / hotel at the Kananaskis turnoff.

    I do think Jasper is too far from Edmonton to ever be an easy weekend resort. Calgary is almost as close to Jasper on travel time as Edmonton is, only one hour different (and a much prettier drive up the Ice Fields highway). Any better link to the mountains would be a big benefit for Edmonton - 2 hours would be awesome. 3 - not so much.
    I think this would still pass pretty close, if not through O'Chiese. At least the O'Chiese truck stop is right on the current route down Sunchild Road Road. It's at about the right distance to be the last pit-stop before Nordegg too. Huge opportunity there.

  44. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    As mentioned earlier in the thread, property acquisition will be the biggest cost for a new highway to Nordegg. There's farms, oilfields and gas reserves.

    I'm glad Sunchild is mentioned because that is the name of a rather large indigenous reservation northeast of Nordegg. Getting a new highway through their land will cost a lot of time, negotiation and money. Look how long it took to cut a deal with the Tsuu T'ina to build the SW Calgary ring road. And same with that road, many concerns with the environment, wetlands, etc will be raised as well.

    Rather than building a new highway, I would rather that they improve the Yellowhead Hwy to Jasper with bypasses and interchanges and having a dedicated rail service between Edmonton and Jasper.
    Agree on rail service SDM, but the drop in time by road is so significant that I really don't see the Yellowhead being even remotely competitive. A 2ish hour commute to the mountains from YEG would legitimately change the internal/external perspective of this city wrt the Mountains. We'd legitimately be considered a "resort" destination globally, similar to YYC.

    Also, I echo everyone's concerns on the political bottlenecks and hurdles. That's incredibly unfortunate when you consider the magnitude of the opportunity. As for first nations, I actually don't think there would be any directly on this proposed route of existing roads and the two major cut-throughs (one in greater Edmonton by Devon and the other being the Brazeau - Nordegg connector).
    I'm a regular on the Edmonton to Vancouver or Jasper train run. I would like to update the impressions of a few things here.

    1) The Edmonton-Jasper for almost all of the route is minimum Class 4 track now. Meaning that speeds up to 129km/hr are allowed. I routinely see 80mph max speeds on that line and via trains going that speed anywhere outside of JNP itself.

    2) Although the typical time between Jasper and Edmonton is just over 5 hrs on Viarail much of the loss time is from Edmonton boundary to station which typically takes up an interminable 40minutes just to go a few miles. This due to backlogs o freight trains occupying track and clogging everything. A station at City Edge, just outside of Henday would take 45mins off the trip. Just that change alone.

    3) Given a top speed of 80MPH Jasper-Edmonton could theoretically be achieved in 3hrs (with the stated change above and with current grade track and possible speeds)

    4) Case in point we have taken the Train often, and one train we took left Jasper late, 7;10pm and arrived in Edmonton boundary at 10:40. (The train didn't make station until 11:30.) But the key being this train managed to go from Jasper to Edmonton city boundary in 3.5. hrs. It would actually have been 20-30mins faster without freight train delays.

    5)So that with ROW, or at least less delayed by freight, Via Rail, basically as is, could run a train from Jasper-Edmonton boundary in just over 3hrs without Freight train delays.

    6)Given that Via rail only runs 3 times each direction most of the year and only 2 times each direction in Winter how difficult would it be to grant the train more proprietary access instead of having freight trains receive 24/7 priority on the track?

    Appreciable changes are much more easily within grasp than building new highways at enormous expense.

    Finally, needs to be remembered that the train time doesn't appreciably vary from Winter to summer. So that good speeds can still occur in Winter. Far faster, for instance than driving the same route in typical winter conditions.
    Last edited by Replacement; 28-12-2017 at 02:15 PM.
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    To sum up, the above allows Edmonton -Jasper access in 3hrs.

    The Jasper corridor should always be the goal. That is the World famous National Park, that is the destination. Nordegg is nice, but does not have near the service, amenities or ability to be a major tourist destination.

    Edmonton - Jasper is what we should be focusing on.
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    How much does it cost to take Via from Edmonton to Jasper round trip? Ballpark. Seriously asking because I've always wanted to do it but never looked into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    How much does it cost to take Via from Edmonton to Jasper round trip? Ballpark. Seriously asking because I've always wanted to do it but never looked into it.
    Any Tuesday it would be priced on sale at 80bucks one way. 160two way, for coach seating. They have frequent seat sales and like I said every Tuesday minimally. If booking on the Tuesday you generally have within a month or more from booking the trip to taking the train. It is somewhat subject to limitation but we've always managed to get the sale priced seats (unlike Flights)

    http://www.viarail.ca/en

    Its a wonderful trip as is all the Way to Vancouver which reduced seat sale is about 160bucks. Kids in summer travel for 15 bucks.

    Seeing the beauty from a train is a lot different experience than driving on the highways as the train passes through a lot of forests and you get more intimate views. Can even watch for wildlife. Its magical this time of year as well. To get the full mountain and coastal experience though the Edmonton-Vancouver run is a bucket list must do. We have this treasure of a National line (I've taken nearly all of it) and its not used as much as it could be. Which is not to say its not growing in popularity, I've seen as many as 200 boarding at Edmonton.

    Only difficulty is getting out to the Train Station at 6am and then getting from the train station after 11pm on return. Edmonton has some of the worst schedules for any major city on the line. If going you want to check to see if train is ontime and they have delays and such detailed on the site. Occasionally the train can be very late but we've had mostly trains generally on time experiences. Most we've ever been late being an hour. On flights I've often been late 3 -6 hrs. Go figure.

    ps cabs frequent the train station. no reason to call in advance. Cabs will be there waiting when you arrive back in town.
    Last edited by Replacement; 28-12-2017 at 02:58 PM.
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    I thought there was a special Edmonton-Jasper train apart from the mainline VIA service.
    Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 28-12-2017 at 05:54 PM.
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    There had been one afairc. Or at least billed as that. But presently the "Canadian" is the Edmonton - Jasper service. There are no others. I think there had been a ski service with a train that would go out early on a Friday and then return late on a Sunday. Not sure what ridership for that was. The present location of the Edmonton train station sure doesn't help increase demand.
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    Fundamentally I think a sub 2hr commute from Edmonton to the Rockies (and even less from YEG to the Rockies) via a Nordegg "Rocky Mountain Expressway" would be transformative. The notion of 2 vs. 3 hrs is somewhat a moot point because the base case you've highlighted is still premised on a road system of criss crossing country roads that would not appeal to tourists or urban city residents (let alone traffic). That's why the defacto route from Edmonton is still the 4+ hr commute to Jasper.

    All up, I think this is clearly an opportunity. Given that the potential route is comprised of existing road upgrades with one or two major cut accross routes to ultimately build out a single hwy system that links us right to the heart of the Rockies (for those who haven't been, the Nordegg area is right in the thick of the most scenic parts of the range), it's something certainly worth considering.

    The frustrating part of this opportunity is that there is no indication that any level of government has even looked at this. Its as if no one even knows about it. At the very least I'd expect that a councilor or two and/or a few MLAs would pick it up and probe Alberta Infrastructure to do an opportunity evaluation.

    Hopefully enough interest builds in this to at least put it in front of the right folks...

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    ^Cline River is about on par with Canmore in terms of being inside the front ranges of the Alberta Rockies. Cline River is 50 km further down Highway 11 from the hamlet of Nordegg. Nordegg is is located just west of the first range of foothills and is certainly not in the 'heart of the Rockies'.

    The reason no one of any influence in Edmonton is championing a route between Drayton Valley and Nordegg is because the financial cost and environmental impact vastly outweigh the modest time savings (at most half an hour) compared to the existing Highway 39, 22 and 11 route. Plus it would be a distraction taking away attention and resources away from needed upgrades to the Yellowhead Highway to Jasper.

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    Dream on fellas. They won't even pave the trunk road let alone build a new highway. What everyone should be after though is for hwy 11 to be extended through the Howes Pass to the TCH north of Golden. This would be a great truck route for Red Deer north, and short cut for many.

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    There is a lot of peat moss on the ground which hinders development. Remember when contractors had to delay the opening of the newly twinned yellowhead to Jasper by a year 20 years ago? They had to let the highway bed settle among the peat moss.
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    Living in Calgary and frequenting Canmore, I can assure you that Nordegg is visually right there with Canmore. Fundamentally it is an entrance point for travellers (similar to other routes). Also, I don't consider the current route (39/22/11) to be a real viable route for Urban Edmonton, as a) it's not marketed as such, b) it's not setup as a link to the mountains. I still consider the defacto option to be over 4 hrs (which I think you can agree is a large enough difference that it puts Edmonton into a fundamentally different category wrt the notion of being a mountain destination).

    As to your point about Yellowhead resources, as much as boosters of Yellowhead upgrades continue to push that case, the reality is that travellers in the Capital region continue to flock to the Southern mountain route via Calgary and the TC1. It has better stopping routes (Red Deer, Cgy, Canmore) and is effectively the same time commitment to get to the Rockies (~4 hrs). They are both lengthy routes that offer up little optionality for Edmontonions...and I don't see a drastic change in preference for the Northern route if the Yellowhead gets some additional upgrades...

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    With a bypass around Edson, some work in Entwhistle, and removal of most of the lights in Hinton that drive time could also drop significantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Living in Calgary and frequenting Canmore, I can assure you that Nordegg is visually right there with Canmore.
    No need to assure me of anything. I've visited both Nordegg and Canmore on many occasions. The former is not visually right there with the latter unless you think a foothills setting is equal to a mountain setting.

    Satellite view of Nordegg: https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.99337...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    Satellite view of Canmore: https://www.google.ca/maps/@50.71815...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

  58. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Living in Calgary and frequenting Canmore, I can assure you that Nordegg is visually right there with Canmore. Fundamentally it is an entrance point for travellers (similar to other routes). Also, I don't consider the current route (39/22/11) to be a real viable route for Urban Edmonton, as a) it's not marketed as such, b) it's not setup as a link to the mountains. I still consider the defacto option to be over 4 hrs (which I think you can agree is a large enough difference that it puts Edmonton into a fundamentally different category wrt the notion of being a mountain destination).

    As to your point about Yellowhead resources, as much as boosters of Yellowhead upgrades continue to push that case, the reality is that travellers in the Capital region continue to flock to the Southern mountain route via Calgary and the TC1. It has better stopping routes (Red Deer, Cgy, Canmore) and is effectively the same time commitment to get to the Rockies (~4 hrs). They are both lengthy routes that offer up little optionality for Edmontonions...and I don't see a drastic change in preference for the Northern route if the Yellowhead gets some additional upgrades...
    Nordegg is not visually Canmore. Canmore exists right in the Rocky Mountains. With actual mountains surrounding it. Nordegg is in a foothill range. No comparison between the two.

    Next, every effort should be made to cut drive times to Jasper. That should be the obvious priority. Given considerable slow downs in Edson, Hinton, and other towns easily 20mins could be cut from what the trip currently takes. Nor is Jasper a 4hr ride. The highway is 110Km/hr all the way to JNP. So that a trip to say Pocahontas takes 3.5 hrs as is and could be reduced to near 3hrs.

    Nordegg is not a vacation or tourist destination. Been there and in the region and Forestry Trunk throughout plenty. Nordegg is more comparable to Kananaskis region on highway 1. Its a front range/foothills environment. The actual Rocky Mountain range is 50K from Nordegg.
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  59. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Living in Calgary and frequenting Canmore, I can assure you that Nordegg is visually right there with Canmore.
    No need to assure me of anything. I've visited both Nordegg and Canmore on many occasions. The former is not visually right there with the latter unless you think a foothills setting is equal to a mountain setting.

    Satellite view of Nordegg: https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.99337...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    Satellite view of Canmore: https://www.google.ca/maps/@50.71815...!3m1!1e3?hl=en
    Thank you, not sure why the need for misinformation in this. Saying that Nordegg is visually Canmore is akin to saying that Hinton is visually Jasper.

    Topographically as well there should be no confusion about the *peaks* at Nordegg and the Peaks at Canmore.
    Last edited by Replacement; 29-12-2017 at 12:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    a bypass around Edson is coming soon. http://www.edson.ca/public/download/documents/37315
    That will be helpful but unfortunately Edson is expanded well beyond the proposed bypass already. The bypass, ideally, should be longer.
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  61. #61

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    Even with bypasses and significant roadworks to make the Yellowhead safer, I still see Edmonton residents continuing to choose a route via Calgary (if you aren't fussed about what you want to see that is). It's better developed and offers more stops. As for Nordegg vs. Canmore, I prefer the former every day of the week. Both for views but also activity. And I do think the town would see massive development if a direct route from the capital ever materialized.

    For Jasper I do think your take on rail service is spot on Replacement. If only we could get an initiative whereby an easy rail connection in at, or better than driving times was offered. That could easily be coupled with a CartoGo service (already being discussed for YYC to Banff bus service connections) which would really enable rail to be the preferential service. Unfortunately this is another one which doesn't seem like it's even on the horizon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Even with bypasses and significant roadworks to make the Yellowhead safer, I still see Edmonton residents continuing to choose a route via Calgary (if you aren't fussed about what you want to see that is). It's better developed and offers more stops.
    Depends on where they are going. Most people I know will go will only travel via Calgary if they are heading to Banff, Columbia Valley, Shuswaps or the Okanagan. But if they are heading to Jasper, Vancouver or Vancouver Island then most will opt for the Yellowhead, which is a faster, less congested and less treacherous route.

    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    As for Nordegg vs. Canmore, I prefer the former every day of the week. Both for views but also activity. And I do think the town would see massive development if a direct route from the capital ever materialized.
    When going through Banff, many people won't use Hwy 11 because you have buy a park pass to use the Icefield Parkway from Saskatchewan Crossing to Lake Louise. Granted, the pass is needed if you are going to stay in the Banff park in any case. But if people want to just pass through to BC then that may be a big deterrent from using a new Devon-Nordegg route. Maybe that would then necessitate a Howse Pass highway for pass-thru traffic or maybe not.
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  63. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Even with bypasses and significant roadworks to make the Yellowhead safer, I still see Edmonton residents continuing to choose a route via Calgary (if you aren't fussed about what you want to see that is). It's better developed and offers more stops. As for Nordegg vs. Canmore, I prefer the former every day of the week. Both for views but also activity. And I do think the town would see massive development if a direct route from the capital ever materialized.

    For Jasper I do think your take on rail service is spot on Replacement. If only we could get an initiative whereby an easy rail connection in at, or better than driving times was offered. That could easily be coupled with a CartoGo service (already being discussed for YYC to Banff bus service connections) which would really enable rail to be the preferential service. Unfortunately this is another one which doesn't seem like it's even on the horizon.
    It really depends on where you are going. I prefer the Yellowhead if going to Vancouver or Vancouver Island - not making a lot of stops along the way. If going to the Okanagan I think the other way may be better.

  64. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by millwoods View Post
    Even with bypasses and significant roadworks to make the Yellowhead safer, I still see Edmonton residents continuing to choose a route via Calgary (if you aren't fussed about what you want to see that is). It's better developed and offers more stops. As for Nordegg vs. Canmore, I prefer the former every day of the week. Both for views but also activity. And I do think the town would see massive development if a direct route from the capital ever materialized.

    For Jasper I do think your take on rail service is spot on Replacement. If only we could get an initiative whereby an easy rail connection in at, or better than driving times was offered. That could easily be coupled with a CartoGo service (already being discussed for YYC to Banff bus service connections) which would really enable rail to be the preferential service. Unfortunately this is another one which doesn't seem like it's even on the horizon.

    Keeping in mind the "services" offered on the Number 2, and number 1 highway aren't all that great. The Red Deep pullout for instance has a 4 way stop prior to re-entering the highway. Virtually anytime in summer if you stop there anywhere its a nightmare getting back on the highway. Just ridiculous the way they configured that. Also on on the way to Banff the Stoney Trail, where it enters 1, has virtually bypassed any services and so that there is only one roadside stop, usually with hundreds of vehicles and long wait lines for gas. Calgary hasn't caught up to the need for more services west of the Ring road. Theres virtually nothing.

    The Yellowhead is so much easier to do and Edson and Hinton you just pull out to gas, food, restaurants etc and get right back on the highway easy. So much better. Plus less traffic, and keeping in mind that the #2 highway is the least enjoyable route found anywhere in Alberta. The boredom highway. Which also makes it dangerous from people falling asleep behind the wheel. Plus that its basically a traffic headache all the way.

    I don't mind it, and the wife likes Banff, but I far prefer driving to Jasper over driving to Banff. Its a much more enjoyable ride.

    Agreed with the other poster that the Yellowhead is far superior getting to Vancouver if using the Coquihalla.
    Last edited by Replacement; 29-12-2017 at 04:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    I'm a regular on the Edmonton to Vancouver or Jasper train run. I would like to update the impressions of a few things here.

    1) The Edmonton-Jasper for almost all of the route is minimum Class 4 track now. Meaning that speeds up to 129km/hr are allowed. I routinely see 80mph max speeds on that line and via trains going that speed anywhere outside of JNP itself.

    2) Although the typical time between Jasper and Edmonton is just over 5 hrs on Viarail much of the loss time is from Edmonton boundary to station which typically takes up an interminable 40minutes just to go a few miles. This due to backlogs o freight trains occupying track and clogging everything. A station at City Edge, just outside of Henday would take 45mins off the trip. Just that change alone.

    3) Given a top speed of 80MPH Jasper-Edmonton could theoretically be achieved in 3hrs (with the stated change above and with current grade track and possible speeds)

    4) Case in point we have taken the Train often, and one train we took left Jasper late, 7;10pm and arrived in Edmonton boundary at 10:40. (The train didn't make station until 11:30.) But the key being this train managed to go from Jasper to Edmonton city boundary in 3.5. hrs. It would actually have been 20-30mins faster without freight train delays.

    5)So that with ROW, or at least less delayed by freight, Via Rail, basically as is, could run a train from Jasper-Edmonton boundary in just over 3hrs without Freight train delays.

    6)Given that Via rail only runs 3 times each direction most of the year and only 2 times each direction in Winter how difficult would it be to grant the train more proprietary access instead of having freight trains receive 24/7 priority on the track?

    Appreciable changes are much more easily within grasp than building new highways at enormous expense.

    Finally, needs to be remembered that the train time doesn't appreciably vary from Winter to summer. So that good speeds can still occur in Winter. Far faster, for instance than driving the same route in typical winter conditions.
    This is a significant piece of intel.
    Now that we know it is the train yard operations throwing a spanner in the works, the fine folks at EEDC could work with VIA Rail, and negotiate with CN for those improved travel times. The Edmonton - Jasper tourist community would welcome transportation that is faster and more comfortable than driving/bus.

    I also wonder about this timetable: http://www.cwrailway.ca/cnrha.ca/Tim...on%20%2707.pdf
    Double tracking can also increase the travel times and there are sections of track still single track.

    While encouraging to see the Class 4 designation: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-tce54-832.htm
    I wonder what a benefit/cost analysis would say about converting the track to Class 5? This would allow 80 mph (129 km/h) freight and 95 mph (153 km/h) passenger.

    For the record, true high-speed rail does not start until 125 mph (201 km/h), and Transport Canada does not have a class of track for it, but the USA Federal Railroad administration does, its Class 7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_s..._United_States

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    I thought there was a special Edmonton-Jasper train apart from the mainline VIA service.
    VIA Rail did run a special to Jasper for part of the winter in 2007 and Jan to Apr 2009. They left Edmonton at 1600hrs on Friday and back in Edmonton for 2200hrs on Sunday.

    They were running one locomotive with two of the domed cars taken from the Skeena train sets, the train from Jasper to Prince Rupert.

    IMO the service was not well advertised and was not priced appropriately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    a bypass around Edson is coming soon. http://www.edson.ca/public/download/documents/37315
    That will be helpful but unfortunately Edson is expanded well beyond the proposed bypass already. The bypass, ideally, should be longer.
    Really? The map I see is showing the bypass connecting the 110 km/h zone to the east of town with the 110 km/h zone to the west.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    a bypass around Edson is coming soon. http://www.edson.ca/public/download/documents/37315
    That will be helpful but unfortunately Edson is expanded well beyond the proposed bypass already. The bypass, ideally, should be longer.
    Really? The map I see is showing the bypass connecting the 110 km/h zone to the east of town with the 110 km/h zone to the west.
    The map I saw earlier was showing the bypass after entering the outlying Edson area and coming back to it slightly before leaving town. I can't verify that as now the link isn't working or map not loading.
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    Medwards link shows a map with the bypass. It also shows that it bypasses after crossing the bridge into town which is a 50KM zone by then(changes as you cross the bridge from 80 to 50).

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    Whoops - I meant the CN overpass not the river bridge. It actually turns to 50 about 100 metres before where it shows the bypass starting which is just before this bridge.

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    Actually the more I look at the map and the poor resolution of where it actually leaves the current Yellowhead and now noticing that there is an arrow pointing at Golf course road rather than me thinking the label was actually on Golf course road the bypass could actually start a mile before this point.

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    ^ Look closer. The map shows the bypass starting between RR170 and RR171, about halfway between the McLeod river bridge and the CNR overpass, just before the speed limit drops to 80 km/h westbound. It then rejoins the existing alignment halfway between RR175 and RR180, which is where the speed limit goes back to 110 km/h. The bypass will be nearly 10 km long in total.

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    Yah - I originally thought it started about a half mile east of golf course road - golfed there a couple of times but then noticed that golf course road is actually a mile to the west of where the label was.

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