ELK POINT ROAD: THE WORST HIGHWAY
Taken From St. Paul Journal
The road from St. Paul to within three or four miles west of Elk Point holds premier place as the worst between two major towns in north eastern Alberta.
Mr. Hood, interviewed last week said, "When I speak to any member of Laurier M.D. council they just grin and shrug their shoulders, as if to say 'Je ne sais pas' or as if they felt tickled if you broke a spring every time you went to St. Paul. Elk Point people simply have to go to St. Paul sometimes, such as going to the bank or sometimes they are compelled to go, although they dread going. Actually, Mr. LaRue, the actions of your council seems to be, Please stay away from St. Paul.' I better drop the subject, I get so mad."
"You can't go more than 15 miles per. It's a disgrace to those councillors who ask me to pay taxes year after year, in fact they compel us to pay taxes for nothing. This curvy, crooked, hilly and stoney cow path is actually called a highway to lure the unwary and strangers over it."
On the Cold Lake highway, Mr. Hood suggests signs at every curve, so that a motorist may know when to moderate speed, but, you don't need to bother about signs on the Elk Point cow trail. You just risk your car and your life on it.
With further expansion and development there was concern for better roads. Engineering technology improved and with more substantial grants, roads became better as time went on. Cars were appearing on the scene. Charlie Markstad had the first car in Elk Point, a 1914 Ford Touring Model. Others soon followed for this was truly a revelation in transportation. A 1923 Ford Touring car cost $445. For $85 extra, electric starting and lighting equipment could be bought. Model-T's were relatively cheap and became available to many of the local citizens. There wasn't the need to have your tires balanced every so often either. The servicing was minimal, requirements being gas, oil, water and a strong arm to spin the crank. The engine would blast off and there would be a cloud of exhaust the car would puff and shiver and shake. Mind you, the ride wasn't that smooth, for the roads left much to be desired, but the thrilled occupants were kept so busy hanging on and admiring the scenery as they whizzed along at the unheard of speed of twenty miles an hour, that they didn't even notice the jolting. Horses were frightened by these mechanized monsters. If a horse became frightened, the motorist must stop and also a motorist was liable for damages caused by a frightened horse. The legal speed was twenty m.p.h. in the country, except when passing horse drawn vehicles, then speed must be cut down to ten m.p.h.
Changes in cars were slow, not nearly a new tempting model each year then, as we now have. Cars multiplied quickly and now Alberta has the most cars in relation to its population of any province in Canada.
Soon highways (that is, gravelled graded roads which encouraged winter travel by car,) were connecting the principal towns. With the centralization of schools in the 5O's snow removal machinery became mandatory equipment to enable school buses to transport students to and from school. We are indeed a mobile and mechanized society.
ST. PAUL M.D. ROAD PROGRAM OF PAST SUMMER (1943)
ST. PAUL-ELK POINT ROAD MAIN PROJECT
The new St. Paul-Elk Point highway, started in late summer by the Municipal District of St. Paul and completed this fall, is the most outstanding road improvement in this locality for many years. This 22-mile vehicle communication between these two towns was opened to traffic before the big blizzard. (The Journal was informed by J.M. Drouin, chairman of the snowplow committee that the St. Paul snowplow made a trip over it clearing it of snow, Monday of this week.)
The entire work was under the able supervision and direction of Mr. A.C. Gardiner, district engineer. Eight right-angle turns and seven half-mile stretches were eliminated thereby making a safer and more direct route.
Much of the credit for this accomplishment is due Hon. L. Maynard, Minister of Municipal Affairs, whose whole-hearted co-operation with council of the enlarged M.D. of St. Paul made the project possible. Rural residents, people of both towns and travelling public appreciate Mr. Maynard's kind assistance.
Extensive improvements were made on the Myrnam-St. Paul and the St. Paul-Brosseau roads this summer while the Elk Point-Heinsburg, the Elk Point-Bonnyville roads and the road from Elk Point to the river also received considerable attention. Other grade-building and repair work was carried on throughout the enlarged municipal area during the season.
All the above roadways are in the St. Paul M.D. and the roadwork accomplished was at the investigation of the council. It is to be hoped that more work of this nature will be carried on in the near future.
Following is a general summary of the history of road construction in this area.
Highway 28 from Coronado to St. Paul was incorporated in the Primary Highway System in 1944. Records do not indicate whether major construction was undertaken prior to to this date.
The section of Highway 28 from St. Paul to the junction of Highway 41 was incorporated in 1951. Major grading projects were under way in this time period. See further ahead.
Highway 28 from the junction of Highway 41 to east of Rife (Jct. Hwy. 28A) was incorporated into the system in 1953. This linked the previously established section of Highway 28 (E. of Rife to Cold Lake) and provided a continuous link from Edmonton to Cold Lake.
Highway 28 from Ashmont to east of Rife (Jct. Hwy. 28) was not incorporated in the Primary System until 1962. coincident with major grading projects.
The section of Highway 41 from Vermilion to the junction of Highway 28 was incorporated in 1951 immediately following the completion of grading.
The road from Elk Point to the Salt Plant was paved in July, 1972. While the crew was in the vicinity, with heavy duty Industrial grade of paving, the town fathers decided the time was ripe for paving the streets in town, - one smart move. It has added immeasureably to the face of the community and has eliminated the dust and the chuck holes on main street and has kept maintenance costs down.
St. Paul - Shamrock Valley (D.P.W.)
Shamrock Valley - E. of Rife (D.P.W.)
Ashmont - St. Brides
St. Brides - St. Paul
St. Paul - E. of St. Edouard
E. of St. Edouard - N. of Jct. Hwy. 41
N. of Jct. Hwy. 41 - E. of Rife
Highway 28 A
Ashmont - E. of Rife
Ashmont - S. of Mallaig
S. of Mallaig- S. of Glendon
S. of Glendon - E. of Rife
Ashmont - S. of Therien
S. of Therien - Rife
Rife - W. of Bonnyville
Vermilion - Rusylvia (D.P.W.)
Rusylvia - Elk Point (D.P.W.)
Elk Point - Shamrock Valley (D.P.W.)
Jct. Hwy. 45 - North Saskatchewan River
N. Saskatchewan River - Jct. Hwy. 28
TYPE OF WORK
Grading 1950 and 51 Grading 1962 and 63
Grading 1951 and 52 Grading 1963 and 64
Grading 1958 Base Course 1965 and 66
Base Course 1959 Paving 1968
Paving 1959 Base Course 1967
Grading 1955 Paving 1969
Base Course 1957 Base Course 1966
Paving 1958 Paving 1967
Grading 1963 and 64
Base Course 1966
Paving 1968 Grading 1949 and 50
Grading 1965 and 66 Grading 1950 and 51
Base Course 1967 Grading 1951
Paving 1969 Grading 1965
Grading 1968 Base Course 1970
BaseCourse 1971 Paving 1972
Paving 1972 Grading 1964
Clearing 1959 Base Course 1964 and 65
Grading 1961 and 62 Paving 1965