Alberta Highways - AB 14
All photos are eastbound on the Poundmaker Highway, which runs this way from Edmonton to North Battleford, SK.
I'm eastbound on Whitemud Dr. in Edmonton, which is the western beginning of AB 14. Why, then, is this signed as not being AB 14 for another 4.4 km? It's because in Edmonton, nothing inside Anthony Henday Drive is allowed to have a route number. For decades, AB 14 has done what it still does: head out to the beltway, south, then east. When what's now AB 216 was first built, this was the first section completed, and so it was signed only as AB 14. North of there, it was constructed up to AB 16A, which ran into the city on 17 Ave. SE and then up the new highway to its parent TCH 16. The stretch from AB 14 to AB 16A was numbered 14X, where Alberta generally uses X as "will become its parent route someday." While I don't think it was ever intended for AB 14 to head due north instead of into the city on Whitemud Drive, that may be the legacy of why this refers to Hwy 14 instead of Hwy 216.
About 2 km before reaching AB 216, AB 14 drops from 6 lanes to 4 lanes in what seems like a temporary manner. It's not temporary. The barrier was out there for many years with no work being done to add a lane. I don't know what Alberta thought was going to happen here, but it never did, the barrier was removed, and the roadway was restriped with a more permanent merge to 2 lanes each way heading east.
Signs built to the old standard, outside the reach of Edmonton.
The directonal banners are old. And look, "North" doesn't fit inside. That's why all four directions are stuck with missing borders on the sides. That sure makes a ton of sense. The second AB 854 shield is the old standard, and the first one is a newer standard, so I wonder if the sign had to be replaced without touching any of the others on the assembly.
Do you notice a pattern with secondary route numbering? Primary routes aren't numbered as cleanly, though. This one is numbered sloppily, with overly bold numerals I'm not sure are the correct typeface.
I can think of many better ways to present this information. Here are two things I should point out: North Battleford needs an "SK" after, even if that stretches the sign. And Chauvin is not on AB 14 at all.
What if I told you all of these shield assemblies are in Alberta? What if I told you there's the better part of a kilometre still left before Saskatchewan? Did surveyors make a terrible error? Did Saskatchewan volunteer to maintain Alberta's highway as a Canadian gesture of good faith and apology? The last one's plausible, but the truth is, this is like DE/MD 54 in the States. From its northern end, Highway 17 follows the border almost exactly with a little bit of veering before swinging firmly into Alberta and meeting Highway 14. To the south, it stays in Alberta for awhile before swinging back into Saskatchewan until it ends. In my opinion, the highway can be dual-signed as long as it follows the border. The part in Alberta should be signed as AB 17, and then the remainder should be SK 17. But then you wouldn't get this cool cross-border cooperation and the strange shields it produces.
Into Saskatchewan on Poundmaker Hwy., SK 40
AB 14 Non-Roads
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