An access is a location on a provincial highway where vehicles:
Examples include a private driveway or public road.
Alberta Transportation manages where highway accesses are located and their design.
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 reviews applications for both:
- new accesses
- improvements to existing accesses, or consolidating and removing accesses
Alberta Transportation 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 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)
Alberta Transportation 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 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 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:
- contact an Alberta Transportation District Office
- read about roadside development guidelines and permits
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.
Contact the appropriate Alberta Transportation District Office for more information.
For more information about access management on Alberta highways:
- find your district by checking the Alberta Transportation Region and District Offices map (PDF, 423 KB)
- use the list below to find the Alberta Transportation District Office that is closest to your community
Athabasca District Office
Calgary District Office
Edson District Office
Fort McMurray District Office
Grande Prairie District Office
Hanna District Office
Lethbridge District Office
Peace River District Office
Red Deer District Office
Stony Plain District Office
Vermilion District Office