Roadside development permits

Government approval is required before you can build or change a development by a provincial highway.


Development refers to the construction, excavation, placement, alteration, renovation of any building, structure or installation that occurs above or below ground. Development also includes a change to the original purpose or use of a development.

A permit is required for new or changes to 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

Visit the RPATH Portal for an interactive map to see if a proposed development is within the development control area of a provincial highway.

Permits are subject to the following:


  • Access

    Direct highway access is a potential safety hazard to highway users and is not permitted.

    • Access must be via public roads at 1.6 km minimum spacing.
    • Access to freeways is restricted to interchange locations only.
    • However, if demonstrated need exists (e.g., physical barriers such as creeks or ravines, public road does not exist), direct access may be considered.

    More information on access permits can be found at Access Management.

  • Minimum setback

    Every proposal is assessed individually. Setbacks are determined after reviewing:

    • proposal specifics
    • future highway improvement plans

    The general minimum setback for all development is 40 metres from the highway right-of-way boundary or 70 metres from the roadway/approach centreline, whichever is greater, except where these distances must be increased to allow for highway widening or other improvements.

    Placement of any trees, hedges or shrubs within 30 metres from the highway right-of-way boundary, or 60 metres from the centre line of the highway, whichever distance is greater, is prohibited without a permit.

  • Site plan

    The applicant’s site plan must include the following information:

    • setback
    • location of the existing and proposed development
    • proposed access

    The application must also provide information on building size e.g., area and height, and type.

    See an example of a development site plan.

    To explore which type of highway your proposed development is on or near by please see the Roadside Management Classification Map.

  • Traffic Impact Assessment

    A Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) is an analysis of the potential impacts of traffic generated by a proposed development to the surrounding transportation system, and it provides recommendations for road and highway improvements.

    Government requires you to contact district offices to determine whether a TIA is required for their proposed development.

    Traffic Impact Assessment Guidelines are available to help qualified engineers complete an assessment report on behalf of a developer or municipality. See Traffic Impact Assessment Guidelines for more information.

  • Paying for highway improvements

    When a new subdivision or development is proposed, it often generates new traffic that leads to a need to build road improvements.

    Government policy requires that municipalities, through the developers, fund improvements to highway connections required because of increased traffic caused by subdivisions and development.

    Under the Municipal Government Act, Subdivision and Development Regulation and Off-site Levies Regulation, municipalities can:

    • apply conditions to subdivisions and development
    • collect fees and off-site levies
    • receive provincial transportation grants which can be used to fund highway improvements

    See Who pays for highway improvements policy for more information.


The following guidelines aim to help promote consistency among regions and to help municipalities, their staff, land developers and consultants address our needs early in the process to minimize some of the administrative red tape.

Area Structure Plans

  • This document provides guidance and advice to municipalities, planners, landowners, and others when preparing an Area Structure Plan within 1.6 kilometers of a provincial highway.

Designing and Constructing Highway Access for Subdivision and Development Approvals

  • Often a new or upgraded access to a highway requires accommodating subdivisions or development approvals from local municipalities. This document provides technical guidance regarding design or construction of highway access or improvements to guide the overall process from concept to completion.

How to apply

Step 1. Contact your local municipality

Inform your local municipality about the proposed development, and where it would be situated.

You should also ask your municipality contact to confirm if their written approval is required before you can proceed to step 2.

Step 2. Get an Account or MyAlberta Digital for Business account

  • Individual users require an Account.
  • Business users require a MyAlberta Digital for Business (MADI-B) account:
    • Speak to your organization’s MyAlberta Digital ID for Business account administrator to obtain authorization to use the account.
    • This RPATH MADI-B Instruction provides additional information about assigning delegates to your MyAlberta ID for Business account.

Visit Account for more information or for assistance with your account.

Step 3. Apply through the RPATH Portal

After setting up your Account or MADI-B account login to RPATH Portal and create an RPATH profile.

The RPATH portal will be used to send information and attachments. The permit will be issued and remain available to the applicant via the RPATH Portal.

Privacy disclaimer for permit applications

The information collected on permit applications is:

  • only used by staff to fulfil the purpose for which it was originally collected or for a use consistent with that purpose
  • governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • protected once it reaches the district office (if it is submitted electronically); however, the internet is not totally secure and we cannot ensure the information will be protected during transmission

Contact the appropriate district office if you have:

  • questions about the collection and use of your information
  • concerns about sending your permit information online


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