View Poll Results: Do you support the Howse Pass Highway?

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  • No, I'm against it.

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Thread: Do you support the Howse Pass Highway?

  1. #1
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    Default Do you support the Howse Pass Highway?

    I'm wondering what the folks at C2E think of the proposed Howse Pass Highway.

    First a little backstory...

    Howse Pass Highway has been talked about for decades but has never come to fruition. The highway would essentially be an extension of Highway 11 from Sask. River Crossing A.B. west to around Golden B.C. linking up with Highway 1. Opponents are worried about the ecological disruption of a highway through that area. Proponents see it as a trade corridor, reducing traffic through Kicking Horse Pass and improving safety. The one thing that we can all agree on, is Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) is off limits to heavy vehicles. In the 70's, the AB government rebuilt Highway 11 to heavy vehicle standards, however, Highway 11 comes to a T intersection at Sask. Crossing with Highway 93. This basically means that Highway 11 is under utilized as heavy vehicles can't proceed onto Highway 93.

    Here are some articles about it.

    The first is the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce. They were lobbying the provincial government as far back as '03 for this highway.
    http://reddeerchamber.com/_Library/2...4HowsePass.pdf

    The second is a Economic feasibility study that was done in 2005. The coles notes on it were that the highway would be a great trade corridor advantage for Central Alberta.
    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...13943164,d.d24

    This article is about a central Alberta MLA reopening debate on the proposed highway in 2012.
    http://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/...162162185.html

    This article is a counter to the above article calling it "ridiculous."
    http://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/...162303386.html

    Finally, this is a recent timelapse video of the Pass as it sits now.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpt907-Z7f8

    Great trade advantage or ecological disaster?

  2. #2

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    I'd love to see it happen. It would be an exceptional recreation opportunity. But ...

    The Banff and Jasper national parks constitute a protected wildlife corridor. Putting up another barrier is simply bad thing, regardless of highway fencing and wildlife over/underpasses.

    I imagine the money required could be better spent upgrading the existing mountain pass routes, particularly the Yellowhead.

    So, no.

  3. #3

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    Looks like it could cut off a few hours to travel to golden or further?

  4. #4
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    Didn't realize that it is only 66 km route. It cuts off 95 km of travel for traffic that would go through Red Deer but only only 18 km for travel from Edmonton to Kamloops.

  5. #5
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    So maybe a billion dollars and huge environmental damage to our national parks to save an hour for people from red deer getting to BC? No thanks. What a completely ridiculous proposal.

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    The environmental concerns may outweigh the benefits, but not to the point of calling it a "completely ridiculous proposal". The actual distance through the park is only about 25 km, and there is already a logging road on the BC side that comes within 5 km of the border. Also, the time and distance savings wouldn't just be for trips originating in the Red Deer area, but would also apply to trips between anywhere north of Red Deer and south-central BC (Okanagan and west Kootenays).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    The environmental concerns may outweigh the benefits, but not to the point of calling it a "completely ridiculous proposal". The actual distance through the park is only about 25 km, and there is already a logging road on the BC side that comes within 5 km of the border. Also, the time and distance savings wouldn't just be for trips originating in the Red Deer area, but would also apply to trips between anywhere north of Red Deer and south-central BC (Okanagan and west Kootenays).
    Just review his posting history. You'll see an anti-car anything agenda. He'll lobby against any roadway expanded or new. I'm sure if its was HSR he'd be all for

  8. #8
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    It absolutely should be built, 4 lane Sylvan to Blaeberry, but never will, too many treehuggers around the country these days.

  9. #9

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    I think the highways through national parks seem to be safer for animals than regular roads, generally they are fenced off for animals (at least, on the Alberta side), with animal crossings and similar. It allows rangers and similar easily into these areas as well, and opens up new hiking, camping and other activities. I'd be fine with this, it would be a pretty neat link I think, would save some CO2 cutting that 95km from Red Deer.

  10. #10
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    The benefits? You mean the completely unsupported claim from the Red Deer chamber that it will cut costs "10-15%" off of transportation? My *** it will. Cutting maybe at most an hour off transportation for a very small minority of the Alberta population is not worth the money, and it is not worth destroying our national parks.

    There is no way the 90% of the Alberta population and 98% of the B.C. population that will never, ever use such a road should be expected to invest billions in it. It is a completely ridiculous proposal that some red deer MLA's have historically trotted out whenever they need local political brownie points.

    Zero real benefits for Alberta, zero benefits total sum for B.C., huge cost, creation of another wildlife-destroying barrier in our national parks. The fact that people even consider this to be slightly within the realm of worth talking about is mind-boggling.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    It is a completely ridiculous proposal that some red deer MLA's have historically trotted out whenever they need local political brownie points.
    I don't think everything should just be done for Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer is an important part of the economic engine of the province, they deserve a little bit of love sometimes too.

  12. #12
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    Spending billions on a new road through the national park system to save at the very most an hour of travel time for any part of the province is absurd. It is even more absurd when it would only benefit a very tiny fraction of the province's population.

    I don't even know why I'm getting involved in this. It isn't a real proposal, it is a local special interest group drumming up support for themselves. There is zero chance B.C. agrees to this, and there is zero chance the federal government agrees to this.
    Last edited by Jaerdo; 11-02-2016 at 10:20 AM.

  13. #13
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    One reason it may be looked at in future is that the Calgary-Banff corridor will be so plugged with traffic it will be needed. I have been on that highway lately when it was super scary busy. A lot of truck and other traffic from hwy 2 that skirts Calgary just to use the TCH or traffic that drives UP to the Yellowhead would use the new route

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    Spending billions on a new road
    Is that your cost estimate for everything?



    Anything that you oppose you cite that it will cost Billions. I find it funny that you oppose this, but are all for HSR, which would need to be fenced off in its entire length from Edmonton to Calgary and be a much bigger wildlife barrier than whats proposed in this thread... (yes, wildlife does exist outside of national parks)

    My goodness.

  15. #15
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    Well, how much has been spent on improving the Transcanada through the Kicking Horse Pass over the past 10-15 years? And it's still not done. Phases 1-3 cost roughly 325 million, and Phase 4 is currently budgeted at 450-650 million (numbers taken from here: https://www.th.gov.bc.ca/kickinghorse/index.htm). So pretty damn close to a billion dollars to upgrade a few dozen kilometers of highway. One of the links in the original post above indicated that the terrain that this new highway would travel through is fairly equivalent to the Kicking Horse Pass route. Obviously the entire road won't require as intensive construction as the upgraded sections of the Transcanada will, but significant portions will.

    It seems well within the realm of reason that a new road through that route is going to cost in the billions of dollars, given that upgrading 40-50 km of the Transcanada through the Kicking Horse Pass will be upwards of a billion by the time it's finished.

    Finish upgrading the Transcanada first. Once Kicking Horse is done there's a ton of work between Revelstoke and Sicamous to do. If that ever hits capacity then maybe it will be worthwhile to look at the Howse pass route. I doubt we ever see that day.
    Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 11-02-2016 at 10:50 AM.

  16. #16
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    I would much rather see the Yellowhead between Hinton and Kamloops upgraded first
    “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

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    I would much rather see the Yellowhead between Hinton and Kamloops upgraded first
    But if you lived in Red Deer, or interior Alberta/B.C., I'm guessing you might not feel that way. This creates another link / option.
    Last edited by moahunter; 11-02-2016 at 10:59 AM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    One reason it may be looked at in future is that the Calgary-Banff corridor will be so plugged with traffic it will be needed. I have been on that highway lately when it was super scary busy. A lot of truck and other traffic from hwy 2 that skirts Calgary just to use the TCH or traffic that drives UP to the Yellowhead would use the new route
    I agree, the Alberta/B.C. Southern passes get crazy busy.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    Spending billions on a new road through the national park system to save at the very most an hour of travel time for any part of the province is absurd. It is even more absurd when it would only benefit a very tiny fraction of the province's population.

    I don't even know why I'm getting involved in this. It isn't a real proposal, it is a local special interest group drumming up support for themselves. There is zero chance B.C. agrees to this, and there is zero chance the federal government agrees to this.
    WTF???

    Were you not one of the ones who was pushing the HSR agenda? I underlined the hypocrisy.
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  20. #20

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    Very interesting discussion.

    The anti-new-road people raise another interesting issue. Should the north-south roads in the park (Louise-to-Jasper) be closed periodically or permanently or restricted to tourist buses or should some other traffic-reduction strategy be employed due to their environmental impacts. (I don't think size of vehicle matters as much as volume, frequency and timing.)

    That said, would the parks be better served through a reduction of traffic volumes traversing the parks via existing routes or through a reduction on existing routes - by the addition of a new route?


    As another aside, I was watching TV last week and our parks overpasses were being shown as example of what could be done down around, I believe it was LA. Seemed astounding that they hadn't just gone ahead and built one to solve their problem.
    Last edited by KC; 11-02-2016 at 11:24 AM.

  21. #21
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    Closing the roads periodically won't help the largest issue which is wildlife impacts. The better option is to spend more on wildlife crossings and abatement. The problem with periodic closures is the animals will never adapt to the road being there if it is safe for a large part of the year. It is better to install wildlife crossings and let them adapt to using them.

    I'm going to ignore the people attempting to red herring this into a HSR discussion, because this has nothing to do with the pros/cons of an alternative mode of transportation.

  22. #22
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    I think it might be better to upgrade some of the Yellowhead in Jasper National Park and in BC.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by SP59 View Post
    Didn't realize that it is only 66 km route. It cuts off 95 km of travel for traffic that would go through Red Deer but only only 18 km for travel from Edmonton to Kamloops.
    I think this is the key on why this pass proposal is a nonstarter and essentially why its never occurred in the first place.

    This pass impacts neither Edmonton, or Calgary travel, nor is it tied to any cross country highway as is the case with the two other passes.

    This pass runs from Red Deer (who cares) to Golden (who cares).

    Historically an argument could've been made that the Howse pass was the optimal pass and that Red deer area should have been more settled but that didn't happen.

    Finally, I quite like the David Thompson highway, and have travelled that route often, so I'm not entirely averse to the proposal and think it would make a wondrous corridor. But I'm often struck by how little traffic uses the David Thompson.
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    I think it might be better to upgrade some of the Yellowhead in Jasper National Park and in BC.
    Yep. More of the Yellowhead should be twinned. A better use of money.
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  25. #25
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    As someone who was held up at Golden for 5hrs recently while a fatality collision was investigated and cleared between Golden and Field, I'm all for this. There were probably 1200-1500 vehicles sitting, idling in Golden waiting for the road to re-open since that's the only route East from that point. Not to mention the 30km/h trip that resulted once the road actually did re-open.

    If there was another alternate route, I'd say this is a non-starter. Since this is currently a massive bottleneck, I'm in favour not only for the general public's sake, but for logistics.

    Also, highway 11 is a breathtaking drive that I wouldn't mind taking more often. As long as the price of gas at Saskatchewan Crossing doesn't remain a complete ripoff. I paid 1.86/L on the Thanksgiving long weekend. Absolute robbery.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L
    since that's the only route East from that point.
    If the closure is long term or you have advance warning, you can always head South on 95 to Radium, and head back North to the Transcanada on 93.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L
    since that's the only route East from that point.
    If the closure is long term or you have advance warning, you can always head South on 95 to Radium, and head back North to the Transcanada on 93.
    Yeah there was no warning until we hit Golden. Seemed like it had just happened.

  28. #28
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    I'm ambivalent about this. For the cost and environmental damage a much better case needs to be made of the benefits. All the extra traffic will still end up bottlenecked at Rogers Pass so I don't see it increasing the volume by much.

    If there is a need to accommodate more traffic then I'd rather see continuing work on Kicking Horse Pass, Vermillion Pass, and Crowsnest Pass. I'd even prefer to see the Yellowhead through Jasper expanded before developing a new pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    As someone who was held up at Golden for 5hrs recently while a fatality collision was investigated and cleared between Golden and Field, I'm all for this. There were probably 1200-1500 vehicles sitting, idling in Golden waiting for the road to re-open since that's the only route East from that point. Not to mention the 30km/h trip that resulted once the road actually did re-open.

    If there was another alternate route, I'd say this is a non-starter. Since this is currently a massive bottleneck, I'm in favour not only for the general public's sake, but for logistics.

    Also, highway 11 is a breathtaking drive that I wouldn't mind taking more often. As long as the price of gas at Saskatchewan Crossing doesn't remain a complete ripoff. I paid 1.86/L on the Thanksgiving long weekend. Absolute robbery.
    Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner here folks. I believe this is the only post on this thread that touched on the "more options" point of this highway. It's another route. Plain and simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I'm ambivalent about this. For the cost and environmental damage a much better case needs to be made of the benefits. All the extra traffic will still end up bottlenecked at Rogers Pass so I don't see it increasing the volume by much.

    If there is a need to accommodate more traffic then I'd rather see continuing work on Kicking Horse Pass, Vermillion Pass, and Crowsnest Pass. I'd even prefer to see the Yellowhead through Jasper expanded before developing a new pass.
    Extra traffic? With Howse Highway, heavy traffic ( from Red Deer) would take Highway 11 all the way through the Pass and link up with Highway 1. Right now they usually take QEII and then hit Highway 1. Extra traffic from where exactly??? Large volumes of traffic would actually be reduced on QEII as well as the portion of Highway 1 all the way up to Blaeberry.

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    Further to this, no one really seems to be touching on a main problem here... which is how Highway 11 is built for heavy vehicles but only intersects with the Parkway Highway which forbids heavy vehicles.....

    So do we rebuild the Parkway to allow for heavy vehicles? Or build a highway though the pass that allows for heavy vehicles? Or continue to say screw it, let them pound out QEII/TCH/Yellowhead????

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    As someone who was held up at Golden for 5hrs recently while a fatality collision was investigated and cleared between Golden and Field, I'm all for this. There were probably 1200-1500 vehicles sitting, idling in Golden waiting for the road to re-open since that's the only route East from that point. Not to mention the 30km/h trip that resulted once the road actually did re-open.

    If there was another alternate route, I'd say this is a non-starter. Since this is currently a massive bottleneck, I'm in favour not only for the general public's sake, but for logistics.

    Also, highway 11 is a breathtaking drive that I wouldn't mind taking more often. As long as the price of gas at Saskatchewan Crossing doesn't remain a complete ripoff. I paid 1.86/L on the Thanksgiving long weekend. Absolute robbery.
    That's just it. Create an alternative route and put a toll on it. Any fuel stations along this path can have a surcharge that goes towards to road or to help protect the wildlife.

  32. #32
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    Don't say the word toll, they'll try to run you out of town. A couple notable posters are vehemently opposed to responsible infrastructure financing methods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the.tru.albertan View Post
    Further to this, no one really seems to be touching on a main problem here... which is how Highway 11 is built for heavy vehicles but only intersects with the Parkway Highway which forbids heavy vehicles.....

    So do we rebuild the Parkway to allow for heavy vehicles? Or build a highway though the pass that allows for heavy vehicles? Or continue to say screw it, let them pound out QEII/TCH/Yellowhead????
    Hwy 11 was built for heavy vehicles primarily because of the oil, gas, forestry and agriculture west of Red Deer, not necessarily for cross-provincial traffic.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.tru.albertan View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I'm ambivalent about this. For the cost and environmental damage a much better case needs to be made of the benefits. All the extra traffic will still end up bottlenecked at Rogers Pass so I don't see it increasing the volume by much.

    If there is a need to accommodate more traffic then I'd rather see continuing work on Kicking Horse Pass, Vermillion Pass, and Crowsnest Pass. I'd even prefer to see the Yellowhead through Jasper expanded before developing a new pass.
    Extra traffic? With Howse Highway, heavy traffic ( from Red Deer) would take Highway 11 all the way through the Pass and link up with Highway 1. Right now they usually take QEII and then hit Highway 1. Extra traffic from where exactly??? Large volumes of traffic would actually be reduced on QEII as well as the portion of Highway 1 all the way up to Blaeberry.
    I thought one of the main selling points in this was to increase cross border trade. If more goods aren't being moved then the money is better spent upgrading existing routes.

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  35. #35
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    Certainly opening up a part of the park that few people currently see is something I support. Currently only multi day hikers or horse riders get to experience Howse Pass. The road doesn't need to be like Yellowhead or Trans-Canada but can be more similar to the Maligne or Moraine Lake or Mount Edith Cavell Roads which do not have huge impacts on the environment.

    I really think it will have little impact on traffic except if some passes are closed.

  36. #36
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    ^ It wouldn't be just an access road though. IIRC, there was a study done regarding building the Howse pass route as an alternative to twinning highway 1 through the park, and it concluded that it would divert about 8% of the highway 1 traffic. Not enough to make a difference for highway 1, but significantly more than you would normally find on a dead end back road (except at 8:30 am or 4:30 pm during ski season).

  37. #37
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    Highway 1 is already twinned through Banff National Park. It is not through Yoho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by the.tru.albertan View Post
    Further to this, no one really seems to be touching on a main problem here... which is how Highway 11 is built for heavy vehicles but only intersects with the Parkway Highway which forbids heavy vehicles.....

    So do we rebuild the Parkway to allow for heavy vehicles? Or build a highway though the pass that allows for heavy vehicles? Or continue to say screw it, let them pound out QEII/TCH/Yellowhead????
    Hwy 11 was built for heavy vehicles primarily because of the oil, gas, forestry and agriculture west of Red Deer, not necessarily for cross-provincial traffic.
    Right. I do agree with you. However do you not think that another use of Highway 11 could be to create another cross-border route? It does seem like a good place to put one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by the.tru.albertan View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    I'm ambivalent about this. For the cost and environmental damage a much better case needs to be made of the benefits. All the extra traffic will still end up bottlenecked at Rogers Pass so I don't see it increasing the volume by much.

    If there is a need to accommodate more traffic then I'd rather see continuing work on Kicking Horse Pass, Vermillion Pass, and Crowsnest Pass. I'd even prefer to see the Yellowhead through Jasper expanded before developing a new pass.
    Extra traffic? With Howse Highway, heavy traffic ( from Red Deer) would take Highway 11 all the way through the Pass and link up with Highway 1. Right now they usually take QEII and then hit Highway 1. Extra traffic from where exactly??? Large volumes of traffic would actually be reduced on QEII as well as the portion of Highway 1 all the way up to Blaeberry.
    I thought one of the main selling points in this was to increase cross border trade. If more goods aren't being moved then the money is better spent upgrading existing routes.
    I see your point. But if trade does expand, then all that central AB traffic will be using TCH through Golden - Canmore anyway. I stand by my point of less large vehicles on QEII. And that's been a big issue for a while now.

    Anyway, I just wanted to see what people thought of this. There is good discussion here.

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    Is there a map? I can't visualize where this is going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buildings View Post
    Is there a map? I can't visualize where this is going.
    Type Howse Pass into Google Maps.

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    so I got a point on a map. it doesn't show the proposed route

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    Quote Originally Posted by buildings View Post
    so I got a point on a map. it doesn't show the proposed route
    If you follow the valleys from that point there's only one route to Highway 93 (north) and one route to the Highway 1 (south).

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    Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 15-02-2016 at 04:00 PM. Reason: posted a better picture
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  44. #44

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    They should build this.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

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    So is there currently a non-highway there? Like could I drive this route if I wanted to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    So is there currently a non-highway there? Like could I drive this route if I wanted to?
    It's all backcountry on the parks side. There are logging roads to within a few km's on the south side but I'm not sure how accessible those are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    They should build this.
    I think so as well, that would be an awesome route through Rocky Mountain house and straight to BC bypassing golden.

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    It will effectively meet Hwy 1 at Golden. Drive time difference from Edmonton to Golden would be about 30 minutes shorter. Not really a huge gain.

    Edmonton to Saskatchewan Crossing: 4hr + 1hr for the pass.
    Edmonton to Golden currently: 5.5hrs

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    According to the map I posted reposted, the proposed intersection with Hwy 1 would be 20 minutes north of Golden.
    Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 15-02-2016 at 06:08 PM.
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    Skipping past the 2 lane 40 zone with all the tight curves should make a lot more than 30 min difference unless Howse is similar.

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    According to some of the articles above, the BC side has steep and treacherous terrain that's no better than the Kicking Horse canyon. So that 66 km may take longer than 1/2 hr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    According to the map I posted reposted, the proposed intersection with Hwy 1 would be 20 minutes north of Golden.
    More like 10 minutes at highway speeds. It's only about 17km north of Golden. Still not a lot of time gain for the cost of the project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    According to the map I posted reposted, the proposed intersection with Hwy 1 would be 20 minutes north of Golden.
    More like 10 minutes at highway speeds. It's only about 17km north of Golden. Still not a lot of time gain for the cost of the project.
    Have you ever taken this highway? It's full of traffic much of the time, rarely do you get to go at full highway speed. This route would be a significant time saving for anyone from about Olds north. It would give some much needed redundancy as well.

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    Finally got around to watching the flythrough. I'd like to see how big a mess this area was during the Calgary flood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    According to the map I posted reposted, the proposed intersection with Hwy 1 would be 20 minutes north of Golden.
    More like 10 minutes at highway speeds. It's only about 17km north of Golden. Still not a lot of time gain for the cost of the project.
    Have you ever taken this highway? It's full of traffic much of the time, rarely do you get to go at full highway speed. This route would be a significant time saving for anyone from about Olds north. It would give some much needed redundancy as well.
    Many times. And I've not really had an issue driving at highway speeds just north of Golden. Even so it's still only 17km. Of course if a Howse Pass highway actually increased the amount of traffic going west through Rogers Pass could get very congested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    Finally got around to watching the flythrough. I'd like to see how big a mess this area was during the Calgary flood.
    Very cool, looks flat and lots of trees:


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    We have lived without the proper highway so I just don't see a need. I looked at this route decades ago but feel that we don't need another highway through a world heritage site and an important wildlife habitat.
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    There would need to be significant wildlife/ecological impact mitigation if it did go forward. I wonder if a portion of the incredibly scenic highway 11 could be folded into Banff NP, thus increasing protected area overall while opening up a whole new portion to a greater population.

    I wonder how big a difference there would be in weather down there. Theoretically it could see considerably fewer highway-closing weather events at a lower altitude.
    Last edited by Alex.L; 15-02-2016 at 09:07 PM.

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    Yes, the impact of building it is no where near as bad as some make it about to be.

    66 km in length and 44 km on the BC side not in a National Park that already has logging and logging roads built.

    22 km on the Alberta side. And this was to be the original route the CPR was to take.

    Sources tell me the trees through here are already going through their natural death cycle.

    This is a no brainer.

    Be nice to send the railroad and a pipeline through there at the same time so there is no coming back for further disturbance.

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    I also decided to take the time to watch the YouTube video.

    If you're going to watch, I recommend shutting off the audio, which is rife with hilarious misinformation. It makes it sound like a Howse Pass Highway is going to be the savior of the country, then later saying it will primarily benefit Central Alberta. I love how she quotes a feasibility study from 100 years ago, way back when people drove Model Ts. And claims that both the Yellowhead and Trans Canada need triple-laning. And finally, while she is decrying the billions spent on expanding the Trans Canada, she fails to mention how much this new highway would cost - planning, design and construction - who pays for it, and how long it will take.

    I have to admit though, I could not see much that looks like challenging canyon terrain, except maybe at the 2:40-2:46 bit. I think the main concern would be the flood plain on the Alberta side.
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    Banff-Calgary passenger rail coming back? That would certainly solve some of the traffic issues on the Trans Canada if this goes ahead:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...gary-1.3445936
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    For that stretch, sure. But it wouldn't have any effect at all on the portions that are most frequently closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Banff-Calgary passenger rail coming back? That would certainly solve some of the traffic issues on the Trans Canada if this goes ahead:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...gary-1.3445936
    I don't think it would solve any at all, Banff is an hour from Calgary, why would locals take a train rather than drive? Tourists won't either (they go on charter busses).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cod Father View Post

    This is a no brainer.

    Be nice to send the railroad and a pipeline through there at the same time so there is no coming back for further disturbance.
    ...plus a high speed rail line, a nuclear power plant, a wildlife theme park, four Tim Horton's, two McDonalds, a Starbucks and a Dollarama.
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    Just try driving it Friday or Sunday evenings, it is jammed from Banff to Stony Trail.

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    ^the weekend Canmore holiday home commute.

    I'm wondering if there might be some deals in Canmore soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Banff-Calgary passenger rail coming back? That would certainly solve some of the traffic issues on the Trans Canada if this goes ahead:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...gary-1.3445936
    Key point "In 1989, its last full year of operation The Canadian had 539,000 passengers and lost $127.6 million" A $236 taxpayer subsidy per passenger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    For that stretch, sure. But it wouldn't have any effect at all on the portions that are most frequently closed.
    Yes but your only concerns are the avalanche zones around Golden. The links in the OP touted traffic volume on the Trans Canada as one of the primary reasons for the new highway, the heaviest being between Banff and Calgary. A passenger rail could cut down on that traffic, but admittedly this is a pipe dream.
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    I would vote against it.

    I drive to the coast often and have used all three passes. When I go to Lake Louise or Golden I take Highway 11 which is very nice with the bonus of few cops and trucks. think this extension would be a fine highway .

    However, as the years go by I see man's footprints everywhere in our beautiful mountains. We cannot reclaim the wilderness lost. I am in favour of improving the engineering on existing routes while expanding our footprint as little as possible.

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    This route will become a necessity in time. The link between Golden and Lake Louise is subject to multiple closures every year due to weather and collisions.

    The only other viable Rocky Mountain crossing routes other than hiway 1/93 are the Yellowhead and Crowsnest. Both require a detour of hundreds of kms to backtrack and cross.

    One simply has to look at the failure of the Nipigon River Bridge in Ontario to see how difficult the loss of a direct route can be to commuters and industry:

    https://www.google.ca/maps/search/Ni...61,5.89z?hl=en

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunde...uary-1.3410576


    Red Deer and the surrounding central Alberta area has become a large agricultural and industrial powerhouse center which will eventually need a direct link to the BC side of the country. The population of the central Alberta Red Deer area is close to 200,000 now; once that approaches 500,000 in a few decades the need for a direct overland mountain route to the coast will happen.

    There are 8 primary hiway routes between Alberta and Saskatchewan, and dozens more secondary and rural ones allowing easy access for commuters and industry between the two provinces.

    The mountainous border shared for the most part between BC and Alberta does present a design and cost challenge for interconnecting routes, but it doesn't eliminate the need for additional ones down the road.


    Much like a direct route between High Level and Fort McMurray via Garden Creek and Fort Chipewyan is a future necessity and an eventuality, Howse Pass will likely come into reality sometime in the next half century.

    I hope to drive it before I shuffle off my mortal coil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    So is there currently a non-highway there? Like could I drive this route if I wanted to?
    It's all backcountry on the parks side. There are logging roads to within a few km's on the south side but I'm not sure how accessible those are.

    Blaeberry Road is what you are talking about. Travels as far north as the SE slope of Doubt Hill for local logging sites. About 5km from the Alberta border at Howse Pass. You can drive it with an ATV or decent high clearance SUV during summer/fall. Plenty of people take this route for back country camping and hiking out of Golden.

    The actual amount of Hiway that would need to be constructed thru Banff National Park is closer to 15-17km, and all along lower altitude riverplain with the exception of the pass that is pretty much right at the Alberta/BC border.

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    All it takes is one avalanche on the TCH #1 or Yellowhead to block traffic for days.

    Any corridor here would need to be surveyed to include rail and pipeline too. The 2005 study estimated a benefit/cost ratio of 2.14 meaning the benefits would outweigh the cost 2.14 times to 1.

    The Kicking Horse Pass section of the Trans Canada Highway is prone to road closures due to land slides, avalanches, and traffic accidents. It also has higher grades and elevation than the proposed Howse Pass route.
    In other words truckers will appreciate the route.

    The study also indicated traffic would range from about 1,600 vehicles (average annual daily traffic) initially to over 3,500 vehicles by 2027.

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    I would still like this highway built. Maybe someday.... A guy can dream.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jackson View Post
    All it takes is one avalanche on the TCH #1 or Yellowhead to block traffic for days.

    Any corridor here would need to be surveyed to include rail and pipeline too. The 2005 study estimated a benefit/cost ratio of 2.14 meaning the benefits would outweigh the cost 2.14 times to 1.

    The Kicking Horse Pass section of the Trans Canada Highway is prone to road closures due to land slides, avalanches, and traffic accidents. It also has higher grades and elevation than the proposed Howse Pass route.
    In other words truckers will appreciate the route.

    The study also indicated traffic would range from about 1,600 vehicles (average annual daily traffic) initially to over 3,500 vehicles by 2027.
    You still don't avoid the most avalanche prone area and the Yellowhead doesn't close very often. Makes no sense to me as this would be mostly useful to Edmontonians only. . Twin through the park on existing road for least environmental impact.

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    If this was ever going to be built it should have been done before the major rehab that's set to start on Hwy 1 so as to provide an alternative route and alleviate traffic. Once it's 4-laned through Golden this will go back in the pipe-dream folder, unfortunately.

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    It never came out of that folder. There is no appetite at any level of government to spend billions or potentially tens of billions of dollars on a new highway that few people or businesses would use. And a big part of the draw to areas like Nordegg is the fact that there isn't a massive highway cut through the center of them. I really don't see any need for this highway whatsoever. And I frequent the 22/11 route through to Louise on a pretty regular basis, personally, if only to avoid the mess that is the QE2 and TransCanada between Edmonton, Calgary and Louise.

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    I support the highway, but I think the likelihood is slim. I also would support a highway across Elk Pass connecting AB 40 in Kananaskis Country with BC 43 - it would better connect with Fernie.

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    Elk Pass is way more likely as there are only provincial parks not national, although this won't happen with the current BC NDP/Green and AB NDP governments.

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    Looking at Google Map I think there's already a paved road from Kananaskis to Elk Pass. Not sure about the BC portion to Elkford.

    Edit: Never mind, it looks to be just a service road for the transmission lines passing through there.
    Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 30-12-2017 at 01:34 PM.
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    I recently drove on Hwy 11 from Red Deer to Golden. At the park gate before Saskatchewan Crossing, you absolutely must pay for a park permit due to the Icefield Parkway - no ifs, ands or buts about it.

    Would a new Howse Pass highway eliminate the need for a park permit since there's now a pass-thru option for this highway?
    Will there be two extra gates on each side of the Icefield Parkway as a result of this new highway?
    Or would it be cheaper to keep as-is?
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    It's been like that for decades, how were you not aware? If you travel North from Banff or South from Jasper, same thing. It is not a commuter highway and it is slower than other routes. It's perfectly rational to expect people to pay to enjoy the highway and sights along it, no different than any other part of the mountain National Parks (on the large highways you don't need a pass yes, but if you stop for even a minute you are risking a hefty fine). For similar reasons, no trucking traffic is permitted on the highway, with certain exemptions for local use.

    As far as the Howse Pass highway goes, it's a pure hypothetical. That highway will never be built. If you don't want to pay for a park pass, take the Transcanada or the Yellowhead.
    Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 15-08-2018 at 09:53 PM.

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    The so-called rationale behind this preposterous idea is completely and fundamentally flawed: Howse Pass and the Canadian Rockies are infinitely more economically valuable to Alberta and Canada as a protected and pristine heritage site than as a transportation corridor. Let us hope that those federal officials charged with the responsibility of protecting this area from myopic and self-serving local politicians and business interests do their job and kill this idea once and for all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Looking at Google Map I think there's already a paved road from Kananaskis to Elk Pass. Not sure about the BC portion to Elkford.

    Edit: Never mind, it looks to be just a service road for the transmission lines passing through there.
    There's a paved road from AB 40 that services the campgrounds and trail heads within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There's an old gravel fire access road on the Alberta side that connects to Elk Pass that is now utilized as a hiking and bicycle path; https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/ka...heed/elk-pass/.

    Quote Originally Posted by OffWhyte View Post
    The so-called rationale behind this preposterous idea is completely and fundamentally flawed: Howse Pass and the Canadian Rockies are infinitely more economically valuable to Alberta and Canada as a protected and pristine heritage site than as a transportation corridor. Let us hope that those federal officials charged with the responsibility of protecting this area from myopic and self-serving local politicians and business interests do their job and kill this idea once and for all.
    Pretty strong language. The Howse Pass highway is something that been proposed for decades; however it has never been seriously pursued. Considering the stringent environmental regulations both inside and outside of the national parks and the fact that it is taking so long to twin TCH 1 through Banff & Yoho parks, with it being constructed with numerous animal crossings and a 90 km/h speed limit (and don't forget TCH 1 in the BC interior), Parks Canada is hardly bending to anyone. In my opinion, the government can consider and either approve or deny PROJECTS; however, IDEAS are a fundamental part of any free, democratic society - to kill an idea is to remove it permanently and silence anyone who voices it. Open dialog on any infrastructure project should be allowed, and consensus will determine whether it should be constructed. Red Deer area stakeholders are free to have their idea, much like the Yellowhead Highway Association of post WW2, but realistically there's nothing to fear for the project opponents.

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