Highway 11 marker Highway 11 marker

Highway 11

David Thompson Highway
Highway 11 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Alberta Ministry of Transportation
Length318.2 km[1] (197.7 mi)
Major junctions
West end Hwy 93 in Saskatchewan River Crossing
Major intersections
East end Hwy 12 near Nevis
Specialized and rural municipalitiesI.D. No. 9, Clearwater County, Lacombe County, Red Deer County, Stettler No. 6 County
Major citiesRed Deer
TownsRocky Mountain House, Sylvan Lake
Highway system
Hwy 10 Hwy 11A

Alberta Provincial Highway No. 11, commonly referred to as Highway 11 and officially named the David Thompson Highway, is a provincial highway in central Alberta, Canada. It runs for 318 km (198 mi) from Highway 93 at Saskatchewan River Crossing near Mount Sarbach in Banff National Park east to Highway 12 near Nevis. It passes by Nordegg and through Rocky Mountain House, Sylvan Lake and Red Deer along its course. The highway is named after David Thompson, a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker who explored the area between Rocky Mountain House and Kootenae House (near present-day Invermere, British Columbia) through Howse Pass.

Route description

Highway 11 towards Banff in August 2017

The majority of Highway 11 is maintained by Alberta Transportation. The segment within Banff National Park is maintained by the Government of Canada,[2] and within Red Deer limits the city has jurisdiction and is responsible for maintenance. It begins at the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) and travels east for 6 km (3.7 mi) through Banff National Park, where traffic is required to purchase a national parks pass.[3]

Beyond Banff National Park, the highway parallels the North Saskatchewan River and traverses the sparsely populated Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve. It passes by west shore of Abraham Lake and Nordegg. The highway continues east to Rocky Mountain House, where it is concurrent with Highway 22. Continuing east, the highway passes Alhambra, Condor, Eckville, and Benalto before bypassing Sylvan Lake and entering the City of Red Deer. The highway is a four-lane divided highway between Highway 20 and Red Deer, and crosses a causeway and bridge over Cygnet Lake.[4]

Highway 11 meets Highway 2 (Queen Elizabeth II Highway) at an interchange, entering Red Deer as 67 Street. It intersects Gaetz Avenue (Highway 2A) north of Downtown Red Deer near Parkland Mall, and crosses the Red Deer River before turning south and becoming 30 Avenue. At 55 Street, Highway 11 turns east and exits Red Deer, for a total length of 10 km (6.2 mi) within the city.

The highway passes the Canyon Ski Area, crosses the Red Deer River and passes Joffre. East of Joffre, the highway follows the top of the Red Deer River valley and intersects Highway 21. Highway 11 ends at its intersection with Highway 12 near Nevis, 20 km (12 mi) west of Stettler.


Red Deer area

Traffic levels on Highway 11 have gradually increased west of Red Deer, resulting in multiple studies by Alberta Transportation for long-term planning of upgrades to the route. The studies call for the highway to be upgraded to a freeway standard in which all at-grade intersections would be removed between Highway 2 in Red Deer and the intersection at Highway 20 in Sylvan Lake.[5] There is also a plan that calls for the permanent closure of the Highway 781/50 Street intersection, with Highway 781 being realigned to the Highway 20 intersection.[5][6] There is also a study on twinning Highway 11 between Sylvan Lake and Highway 766 north near Eckville.[7] Presently the improvements are unfunded.

Red Deer is also constructing the North Highway Connector, also known as Northland Drive, which will serve as a northern bypass.[8][9] The connector begins at the Highway 2A/11A intersection, crosses the Red Deer River, and connects with Highway 11 in eastern Red Deer. Phase I is currently under construction connects with Highway 11 at 30 Avenue / 67 Street intersection, while a proposed Phase II would connect with 20 Avenue approximately 1.6 km (0.99 mi) further to the east.[10]

Alberta Transportation also has right of way to realign Highway 11 east of Red Deer, bypassing its present 55 Street alignment; documentation temporarily refers to this alignment as Highway 11X.[11]

Howse Pass

There have also been proposals to extend Highway 11 west of Highway 93 across Howse Pass and connect with British Columbia Highway 1 northwest of Golden, British Columbia, known as the 'Howse Pass Highway'.[12] Proponents of the highway argue that it would provide an alternate route to British Columbia and would relieve congestion along the Trans-Canada Highway and the Yellowhead Highway. They also argue that it would reduce the distance between central Alberta and Vancouver by 95 km (59 mi), reduce the distance travelled through Banff National Park, and open up central Alberta to more economic opportunities.[13][14]

Opponents of the highway argue that it would cause significant environmental impact in an ecologically sensitive area, especially within Banff National Park which is a protected area.[15][16] They also argue that it would be cost prohibitive constructing the British Columbia section of the highway along the Blaeberry River, especially since the Trans-Canada Highway and the Yellowhead Highway are requiring significant upgrades, and it is a low priority in British Columbia.[17] Howse Pass is also designated as a National Historic Site which further protects the area from development and as a result it is unlikely that the highway will be constructed.

Major intersections

From west to east:[18]

Rural/specialized municipalityLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
I.D. No. 9
(Banff National Park)
Saskatchewan River Crossing0.00.0 Hwy 93 (Icefields Parkway) – Jasper, Lake Louise, BanffHwy 11 western terminus
National park pass required on Hwy 11 within Banff National Park.
4.42.7East gate of Banff National Park
Clearwater County87.754.5 Hwy 734 (Forestry Trunk Road) – Waiparous, Edson, Hinton
Nordegg89.955.9Stewart StreetNordegg access road
144.089.5Sunchild RoadAccess to Sunchild First Nation and O'Chiese First Nation
168.7104.8 Hwy 11A east – Rocky Mountain House
Hwy 756 north – Crimson Lake Provincial Park
172.5107.2Crosses the North Saskatchewan River
Rocky Mountain House174.2108.2 Hwy 22 north (Cowboy Trail) – Drayton ValleyWest end of Hwy 22 concurrency
177.7110.4 Hwy 11A west / Hwy 598 east (52 Avenue) – LeslievilleAccess to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
181.1112.5 To Hwy 752 south (Township Road 392)
186.1115.6 Hwy 22 south (Cowboy Trail) – Caroline, SundreEast end of Hwy 22 concurrency
Hwy 761 – Leslieville, StaufferNorth and south intersections are offset;
Hwy 761 concurrency for 300 m (980 ft)
Lacombe County218.4135.7 Hwy 766 southWest end of Hwy 766 concurrency
219.9136.6 Hwy 766 north – EckvilleEast end of Hwy 766 concurrency
↑ / ↓221.0137.3Crosses the Medicine River
Red Deer County225.7140.2UAR 164 south – Benalto
227.5141.4Township Road 390Former Hwy 11A east
Sylvan Lake237.2147.460 StreetProposed interchange[5]
238.8148.4 Hwy 781 south – Innisfail
50 StreetWestbound right-in/right-out
240.4149.4 Hwy 20 north – Bentley, RimbeyProposed interchange and Hwy 781 realignment[5]
254.2158.0Burnt Lake TrailFormer Hwy 596
City of Red Deer255.0158.4 Hwy 2 – Edmonton, CalgaryInterchange (exit 401 on Hwy 2); becomes 67 Street
256.6159.4Taylor Drive
258.2160.4 Gaetz Avenue (Hwy 2A) – Lacombe, Penhold
259.3161.1Riverside DriveGrade separated
259.4161.2Crosses the Red Deer River
261.5162.530 AvenueRoundabout; connection to Hwy 11A under construction[10]
Hwy 11 branches south
263.0163.455 Street / 30 AvenueHwy 11 branches east
Red Deer County274.3170.4 Hwy 808 south
↑ / ↓275.2171.0Crosses the Red Deer River
Lacombe County280.1174.0 Hwy 815 north – Joffre
299.4186.0Range Road 235Hwy 921 south (unsigned)[19]
304.7189.3 Hwy 601 north – Alix
311.0193.2Range Road 223Hwy 921 north (unsigned)[19]
↑ / ↓313.3194.7 Hwy 21 – Bashaw, Camrose, Three Hills
County of Stettler No. 6318.2197.7 Hwy 12 – Lacombe, StettlerHwy 11 eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Google (December 4, 2017). "Highway 11 in central Alberta" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Parks Canada - Parks Canada Performance, Evaluation and Audit 2009 Plan". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Canada. "Banff National Park - Park Passes". Parks Canada. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "Site".
  5. ^ a b c d "Highway 11 Functional Planning Study - Executive Summary" (PDF). Government of Alberta. McElhanny Consulting Services Ltd. December 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Highway 20/781 Planning Study" (PDF). Government of Alberta. Dillon Consulting. May 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Central Provincial Highway Projects". Highway 11. Government of Alberta. July 22, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "North Highway Connector" (PDF). City of Red Deer. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "North Highway Connector". Parkland GEO. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "North Highway Connector" (PDF). Stantec. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "2015 Provincial Highways 1 - 216 Series Progress Chart" (PDF). Alberta Transportation. March 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  12. ^ Kossowan, Brenda (July 11, 2012). "Wildrose MLA reopens Howse Pass debate". Red Deer Advocate. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Bekka, Khalid; Schollie, Bruce (October 12, 2005). "Economic Pre-Feasibility Study for a Howse Pass Highway". Clearwater County, Town of Rocky Mountain House, Lacombe County, Government of Alberta (PDF). Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Howse Pass video". Red Deer Advocate. January 15, 2016. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Kossowan, Brenda (July 12, 2012). "Proposal to drive highway through pass 'ridiculous'". Red Deer Advocate. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Douglas, Nigel (August 2012). "Howse Pass Highway: The Ridiculous National Park Highway Proposal that Refuses to Die" (PDF). Wilderness Watch. Vol. 20, No. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 7, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  17. ^ Nome, Helge (June 27, 2012). "Howse Pass Highway? - Not likely". Alberta West News. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Alberta Road Atlas (2005 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 62, 63, 64, 65, and 68.
  19. ^ a b "Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation" (PDF) (Map). Lacombe County. November 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
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