Access to Alberta highways will be restricted during Pope Francis’s tour of the province next week and drivers can expect delays as the papal motorcade hits the road.
Rolling closures are scheduled for highways across the province between July 24 and July 27 as the pontiff travels through Edmonton, Maskwacis and Lac Ste. Anne.
Sections of the Queen Elizabeth II, 2A, 16, 43, 611 and 633 highways are expected to close during his various tour stops.
Motorists can expect delays and are being encouraged to consider alternate routes, the province said in a traffic advisory.
Here are the anticipated road closures, according to an update from the province on Tuesday. This story will be updated as more details are revealed.
- The Pope will arrive on the morning of July 24 and the QEII Highway northbound between the Edmonton International Airport and City of Edmonton will be closed until the motorcade passes by.
- The QEII Highway southbound and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed between Edmonton and Maskwacis when the Pope travels from Edmonton to Maskwacis on the morning of July 25.
- The QEII Highway and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed between Maskwacis and Edmonton when the Pope returns to Edmonton later in the afternoon.
- Travellers can expect closures, significant delays and limited access along portions of Highway 2A, northbound and southbound, between Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis and Ponoka all day on July 25.
- Travellers can also expect closures, significant delays and limited access along portions of Highway 611, eastbound and westbound, all day on July 25.
- 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 on July 26.
- 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 on all range roads and township roads west of Highway 43 and east of Highway 765, south of Lac Ste. Anne.
- 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.
Information on the papal travel schedule will be posted on 511. Highway closure information will also be posted on electronic message boards along Alberta highways.
Francis is in Alberta as part of a week-long trip to Canada to advance reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Church and Indigenous people who suffered from years of abuse in the residential school system.
He will also make stops in Quebec City and Iqaluit.
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