An access is a location on a provincial highway where vehicles:

  • enter
  • leave
  • cross

Examples include a private driveway or public road.

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors manages where highway accesses are located and their design.

Safety considerations

Safety is the primary reason for limiting access to a highway. Any new access creates potential conflict points between vehicles travelling at highway speeds and slower moving vehicles that may be entering, leaving or crossing a highway.

Even when there are no vehicles using an access, road entrances, crossings and exits can create dangerous obstacles for vehicles. In Alberta, 6% to 10% of collisions and fatalities on rural provincial highways are as a result of striking accesses.

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors reviews applications for both:

  • new accesses
  • improvements to existing accesses, or consolidating and removing accesses


Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors has general guidelines to identify where accesses should be located, based on the highway’s classification and its traffic volume.

Highway classification Traffic volume Access
Freeways – major economic corridors, including core routes in the National Highway System Typically more than 10,000 vehicles per day Limited to interchange locations
Multi-lane divided highways Typically more than 10,000 vehicles per day Generally limited to intersections with arterial and collector roads
Major 2-lane highways – arterial highways Typically more than 1,000 vehicles per day Generally located at intersections with collector roads
Minor 2-lane highways – collector highways Typically less than 1,000 vehicles per day Should be limited to one access per quarter section

Freeway locations

Freeway locations are legislated and include:

  • Highway 1
  • Highway 2 (between Fort MacLeod and Edmonton, and between Jct. Hwy 49 and Jct. Hwy 35)
  • Highway 3
  • Highway 4
  • Highway 11 (between Jct. Hwy 2 and Jct. Hwy 766)
  • Highway 16
  • Highway 28 (between Jct. Hwy 28A and Jct. Hwy 63)
  • Highway 28A (between Anthony Henday Drive and Jct. Hwy 28)
  • Highway 35
  • Highway 43
  • Highway 49 (between Valley View and Jct. Hwy 2)
  • Highway 63
  • Edmonton ring road (Highway 216)
  • Calgary ring road (Highway 201)

Access reviews

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors reviews a highway’s access management for:

  • safety – when a safety concern is identified
  • subdivision of land – when government receives notification of a subdivision application from a municipality
  • new development – when government receives an application from a landowner, municipality, or developer for a new development that will generate additional traffic
  • highway improvements – as part of the planning process for current and future highway improvements

Immediate and short-term access

Many proposed developments require immediate and short-term access, even though future highway improvements could be years away.

There could be many alternatives and options to prepare a highway for future development while also addressing immediate access concerns.

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors manages every development application request individually and will work to resolve local concerns when possible. Contact your district office for more information.

Access permit applications

Landowners and developers should contact their local municipality about proposed developments.

A permit from Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors is required for roadside developments within the development control zone, which is:

  • 300m from a provincial right-of-way
  • 800m of the centerline of a highway and public road intersection

A permit is also needed to install or change a sign within the development control zone.

To find out what permits your project will need:

When you apply

When you apply for a permit, you will be asked to provide detailed information about your proposed project plan. This information is reviewed by an engineer or development technologist at Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors.

Contact the appropriate Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors District Office for more information.


For more information about highway development and permits:

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