Kneehill County revise road ban exemption options for ag community | DrumhellerMail
09272022Tue
Last updateFri, 23 Sep 2022 3pm

Kneehill County revise road ban exemption options for ag community

Kneehill County Council

Kneehill County council approved amended options under its Road Bans Exemptions following concerns raised by the agriculture community during the regular Tuesday, February 8 council meeting.
The concerns stemmed from road bans, which are commonplace across the province during the spring to protect critical roadway infrastructure, posing travel limitations on area farmers and ag producers.
“At the May 11, 2021 meeting, council made a resolution for administration to come back to present (road ban) options,” explained Director of Infrastructure Mike Ziehr prior to presenting council with three proposed options.
The first option was to continue utilizing existing road ban regulations with exemptions permitted through the county. This option was not feasible in May 2021 as changes were needed to the Traffic Control Bylaw, which went into effect in September 2021; these changes allow ratepayers to request an exemption from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen or a designate, similar to existing road use agreements.
Information, such as the site location requesting the exemption, traffic estimates and vehicle types, along with the exemption timeframe and any commodities would be required, and Mr. Ziehr noted this is similar to previous requests received from oil and gas companies.
A second option, to implement a full road ban exemption for the agriculture industry, was also suggested. Mr. Ziehr explained surrounding municipalities were surveyed and, while other municipalities do have a full exemption on certain roadways--such as gravel and chip seal roads--this option was “a really risky way of approaching this.”
He added this option was not recommended by Protective Services or Infrastructure; despite offering reduced time for staff to process permits, there are concerns about traffic control and unrestricted loads posing a high risk of damage and potentially increasing budget demands to repair these damages.
The final option shared similar elements to the first in which agriculture producers would be required to apply for an exemption permit, allowing them to travel along banned surfaces only until they approached the first non-banned road surface. Although Alberta Transportation uses similar permitting, this option was not recommended as it again posed a higher risk of damages.
Following a lengthy discussion, council unanimously approved Option A and directed administration to develop a policy outlining the guidelines for road ban exemption requests.


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