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Utility lines to be permanently raised in Northern Alberta

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Hauling oversized loads to the oilsands in Northern Alberta will be a lot easier, thanks to the ...

EDMONTON, Alta. — Hauling oversized loads to the oilsands in Northern Alberta will be a lot easier, thanks to the permanent relocatioin of utility lines along key commercial carrier routes.

The industry has agreed to permanently relocate utility lines on high-traffic routes between Edmonton and Fort McMurray. For its part, the province is eliminating the high-load corridor permit fees for those routes.

“This arrangement is another example of industry and government working together to improve the infrastructure to move large loads essential in the construction of mega projects,” said Dr. Lyle Oberg, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. “These improvements will eliminate expensive delays and congestion that result from equipment sitting idle while lines are being temporarily raised. This is good for industry and for the economy of the province as a whole.”

Since 1985 the province has been burying utility lines along highways used to transport large equipment. It has in turn charged permit fees to the industry to recover the cost. The industry will spend about $4 million to bury or permanently raise the remaining utility lines, making the high-load corridor permanent.

The industry expects to recover its investment in three years thanks to the elimination of permit fees.

“This is an excellent example of industry-government collaboration that benefits everyone,” said Mike Glennon, Executive Director, Athabasca Regional Issues Working Group. “The end result is improved safety, reduced interruptions of power for wire lifting, and improved flexibility for the movement of large loads.”

The agreement eliminates fees for sections of highways 14, 15, 28, 36, 45, 63, 831, 834 and 881.

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