Alberta revamps road conditions service

Information on Alberta road conditions is now available via Twitter, website and toll-free phone through a new Alberta service that replaces the AMA Road Reports.

The Alberta 511 traveller information service was officially launched yesterday by the provincial and federal governments.

More than 100 highway cameras are now accessible through a mobile phone-friendly website at www.511.alberta.ca. The service also includes interactive maps linking to current highway conditions, weather information, construction updates, detours, ferry crossing schedules and border crossing wait times.

The same information is available by calling 5-1-1 toll-free within Alberta. Callers outside Alberta will use 1-855-391-9743. Updates can also be provided through Twitter at @511Alberta.

“Albertans have told us they want fast, simple access to the information they need, and that’s exactly what 511 Alberta provides,” said Alberta transportation minister Ric McIver in a news release.

“511 Alberta will help you better plan your trips and make our highways safer, especially during the winter months.”

The announcement involved what the government said is the first phase of the new service, noting future phases may include more features.

The initial cost was $314,000, half of which was provided by the federal government.

Rona Ambrose, federal minister of public works and government services, said the system will provide accurate information and encourage drivers to use alternate routes that are safer and less congested when conditions warrant.

The Alberta Motor Association  has provided road reports in one form or another since 1927, according to the news release.

AMA president Don Smitten said he welcomed the new service and added that the association will continue to work with government to provide traveller information.