Jasper National Park is considering putting in a through-lane at the east gate for residents and pass-holders.
“Parks Canada is considering its options,” an email from Gates Supervisor Joe Polisuk read.
On Saturday, August 1, drivers reported waiting up to 90 minutes at the east entrance to Jasper National Park. The line-up stretched past the Overlander Lodge, three kilometres away.
According to Polisuk, the line-up was primarily caused by an “exceptionally large volume of traffic all arriving at the same time.”
“As well there were a large amount of park passes purchased (as opposed to through traffic), which takes more time,” Polisuk said in an email.
Polisuk’s email went on to state that in 2011 Parks Canada installed a third gate at the east entrance, which allowed for an improved level of customer service.
“This gate is operated at peak times such as long weekends.”
When this gate is open, according to Polisuk, a Parks Canada employee is present on the highway to direct traffic, allowing the secondary lane to operate similar to a through-lane.
However, if it’s too busy, it’s not safe for that employee to be on the highway, he said.
“Once the line-up reaches a certain length, it is no longer safe for employees to work on the highway directing vehicles to the appropriate lane.”
The Jasper Local’s request for an interview with Polisuk to obtain more details was denied.
On July 2, Conservative MP Jim Eglinski announced that Parks Canada would receive $212 million for infrastructure improvements in Jasper National Park, with the majority of that money going to road improvements.
Polisuk said a through-lane at east gate of Jasper National Park has not been costed.