The papal visit to Alberta next week will result in numerous highway closures in and around the Edmonton area, with motorists being advised to expect delays, Alberta Transportation officials said Tuesday.
Rolling road closures are scheduled for sections of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway and Highways 2A, 16, 43, 611 and 633 from July 24 to 27 to accommodate the papal motorcade.
The rolling closures will involve highway shutdowns before and after the Pope’s motorcade passes by.
As a result, motorists should expect delays and should plan ahead and consider alternate routes where possible.
Accommodations will be made for emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances to use the impacted highways if necessary, Alberta Transportation communications advisor Wayne Wood told the Albertan.
The Pope will arrive on the morning of July 24 and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway northbound between the Edmonton International Airport and City of Edmonton will be closed until the motorcade passes by.
On July 25 the QEII southbound and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed between Edmonton and Maskwacis when the Pope travels from Edmonton to Maskwacis that morning.
Later that day the QEII Highway and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed between Maskwacis and Edmonton when the Pope returns to Edmonton.
That same day travellers should expect closures, significant delays and limited access along portions of Highway 2A, northbound and southbound, between Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis and Ponoka.
Motorists should also expect closures, significant delays and limited access along portions of Highway 611, eastbound and westbound, all day on July 25.
On July 26, Highway 16 westbound, Highway 43 northbound and Highway 633 westbound will be closed when the Pope travels to Lac Ste. Anne late in the afternoon.
That same day Highway 633 eastbound to Highway 43 southbound and Highway 16 eastbound to Edmonton will be closed when the Pope returns to Edmonton.
Closures and restricted access to Highways 16 and 633 can be expected that day on all range roads and township roads west of Highway 43 and east of Highway 765, south of Lac Ste. Anne, and Highway 633 between Highways 757 and 43 will be closed except for buses and local traffic.
The Pope will depart Edmonton on the morning of July 27 and QEII Highway southbound between Edmonton and the Edmonton International Airport will be closed at that time.
Information on the papal travel schedule will be available by calling toll-free 511 in Alberta, 1-855-391-9743 outside Alberta, at 511.alberta, and at @511Alberta.
Highway closure information will also be posted on electronic message boards along the QEII Highway and Highways 2A, 16, 43, 611 and 633.