Alberta private member’s bill would increase some highway speed limits to 120 km/h

Alberta's Highway 2, south of Olds Feb. 15, 2015. Global News

A private member’s bill has been introduced which, if passed, would increase the speed limit on some Alberta highways.

UCP MLA Searle Turton introduced Bill 213: the Traffic Safety (Maximum Speed Limit for Provincial Freeways) Amendment Act on Wednesday.

Read more: Alberta government introduces legislation to levy tolls on new roads, bridges

If passed, the bill would set the maximum speed limit for many provincial freeways at 120 kilometres per hour.

“Bill 213 would allow motorists to use our freeways at the speeds they were designed and engineered for, and match posted speed limits with the realistic speeds commuters follow. Evidence shows this would make our freeways safer,” Turton said in a news release Thursday.

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Turton said he has conducted “extensive research” that shows increasing speed limits would “better synchronize driving speeds between posted limits without leading to safety concerns for drivers.”

Read more: Professional driver caught speeding 201 km/h east of Edmonton in dark, snowy conditions

Details on which Alberta highways might be considered for the speed increase were not released, but Turton stressed it would only apply to divided highways.

“This isn’t right across the board for all roads across the province; just specifically those divided highways where it is deemed safe to do so,” he said.

“Contrary to some people, this isn’t the Alberta-bahn. It is actually narrowed down quite a bit in terms of the parameters.”

Turton, who is the MLA for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain, said Bill 213 would not affect freeways or highways within urban areas, just stretches of roadway “that the Ministry of Transportation deems safe.”

“We want to put a two-year limit. So after the bill — potentially if it does pass — there will be a two-year limit in which the minister can start reviewing those highways right across the entire province and it will give him lots of leeway to analyze and see which roads can actually be increased.”

Turton said he has started discussions with stakeholder groups and looks forward to continuing those conversations as the process moves forward.

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