Access management on Alberta highways

Managing the safety, location and design of all direct highway accesses and indirect accesses within a permit area.


A direct access is a location where vehicles enter, leave, or cross a provincial highway. Examples include a private driveway or public road. The following provides information on direct access management.

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, such as hitting the side of an access or driving into the ditch then overtop of the access. In Alberta, 6% to 10% of collisions and fatalities on rural provincial highways are as a result of striking accesses.

We review applications for both:

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


General guidelines identify where accesses should be located, based on the highway’s Roadside Management Classification. For more information, refer to Table I-5 of the Chapter I Access Management Guidelines in the Highway Geometric Design Guide.

Refer to Freeways and Access Locations Designation Order (Order in Council 587/2009) for designated freeways and freeway access locations.

Access reviews

Access management on provincial highways are reviewed for the following situations:

  • 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.

We manage every development application request individually and will work to resolve local concerns when possible. Contact your District Office for more information.

Applying for access permits

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

A permit is required:

  • for roadside developments within the development control zone, which is:
    • 300m beyond the limit of a provincial highway
    • 800m from the centerline of a provincial highway and public road intersection
  • to install, alter, or remove a physical means of access to a provincial highway
  • when the use of the access changes.

As a part of the application:

The application and supporting documents will be reviewed by an engineer or development technologist.

When working within the highway right of way, a Traffic Accommodation Strategy will be required prior to start of construction.

Go to Roadside development –  Overview for a list of permits, plus further information on policies and guidelines.


Connect with the district office for assistance on roadside development permits via RPATH Portal or Contact us.