Red Deer: Transportation Development for the Long Haul

Gasoline Alley has long been known as a hub for much needed pit stops during road trips through Red Deer County. The busy rest stop with several gas stations and restaurants has been a welcome sight for decades by drivers using the Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) Highway – Alberta’s main north-south artery that includes a nearly 300-kilometre route between Edmonton and Calgary, seeing more than 16 million trips annually by automobile.

gasoline alley
Improved access to Gasoline Alley has resulted in more services being added to the popular stop on QE2. Photos courtesy of Red Deer County.

However, recent construction has made the area a little less accessible for commercial vehicles, so Red Deer County is now working to develop a nearby junction specifically for truck drivers and other large vehicles.

Red Deer County by the Numbers

• Incorporated as a County: 
 January 1, 1963
• Current Mayor: Jim Wood
• Population (2018): 19,541
• Population change 
 2011-2016: 6.7%
• Land Area: 3,962 sq. km
• Major Project Investment: 
 $513.9 million
• Median Household Income: 
Sources: Statistics Canada, Red Deer County, Alberta Municipal Affairs

“Alberta Transportation had recently reconfigured the interchange to make it safer for drivers leaving Red Deer… but at the same time it created a more difficult approach into Gasoline Alley for larger vehicles,” says Sandra Badry, Economic Development Officer with Red Deer County. “We knew that the time was coming for a reconfiguration of that interchange.”

Just 10 kilometres south of Alberta’s fourth biggest city, the new development is located in Red Deer County, which is the municipality that surrounds the City of Red Deer, where the QE2 Highway intersects with Highway 42. Phase one of the Junction 42 project – which included an investment of $2.5 million from the provincial government – opened in November 2018. The “home away from home” development broke ground with five acres of paved parking available for commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles, campers and other large transportation units.

junction 42
Junction 42. Photo courtesy of Red Deer County.

Phase one is only a portion of the 270-acre site that’s primed for development. Over the next 50 years, the county plans to bring in highway commercial, agricultural, manufacturing and other medium-sized industrial development to the area, including the potential for a waste-to-energy project.

“The QE2 highway corridor that serves Junction 42 and Gasoline Alley is also named the CANAMEX Corridor,” says Badry. “It runs consistent from Edmonton, south to Mexico City, through three countries – Canada, the United States and Mexico – and serves as a major transportation route for many distribution companies.”