Alberta Highway 49
|Northern Woods and Water Route
Spirit River Highway
|Length:||266 km (165 mi)|
|West end:||BC 49 at British Columbia border|
|South end:||Hwy 43 in Valleyview|
|Saddle Hills County, Spirit River No. 133 M.D., Birch Hills County, Smoky River No. 130 M.D., Greenview No. 16 M.D.|
|Towns:||Spirit River, Falher, Valleyview|
Alberta Provincial Highway No. 49, commonly referred to as Highway 49, is a highway in northwestern Alberta, Canada. It runs east-west from the British Columbia border to Donnelly, and then north-south to Valleyview. Highway 49 has a total length of 266 km (165 mi)
The portion of Highway 49 from Donnelly to the British Columbia is also known as the Spirit River Highway. It also comprises the westernmost segment of Alberta's portion of the Northern Woods and Water Route. After Donnelly, the Northern Woods and Water Route continues eastward along Highway 2 and then Highway 55. Its southernmost section, between Highway 2 and Highway 43, is designated as a core route of Canada's National Highway System.
Highway 49 begins at the Alberta/British Columbia border (where it continues as British Columbia Highway 49 to the City of Dawson Creek) 8 km (5.0 mi) west of the locality of Bay Tree and is part of the Northern Woods and Water Route. The highway passes through Bay Tree, the locality of Gordondale, the Town of Spirit River, before intersecting Highway 2 in the Village of Rycroft. The highway continues east, passing by the hamlets of Wanham, Eaglesham, Tangent, and Watino before crossing the Smoky River. The highway then passes by the Village of Girouxville and the Town of Falher before again intersecting Highway 2, approximately 2 km (1 mi) west of the Village of Donnelly.
At the Highway 2 intersection, known locally as the ‘Donnelly Corner’, Highway 49 turns south and becomes part of a core route of Canada’s National Highway System while the Northern Woods and Water Route continues eastward along Highway 2. The highway passes Guy and New Fish Creek before entering Valleyview and terminating at an intersection with Highway 43.
The southern and eastern most sections of Highway 49 has seen a variety of highway designations.
Prior to 1990, Highway 49 continued east past Donnelly and through the Town of McLennan before terminating at Highway 2 in Triangle, 14 km (8.7 mi) west of the Town of High Prairie, along present-day Highway 2. At the same time, its present-day alignment between Donnelly and Valleyview was designated as Highway 34.
In 1990/1991, Highway 34 between Valleyview and Donnelly was renumbered to Highway 43 and Highway 49 between Triangle and Donnelly was renumbered to Highway 2, resulting in Highway 49 terminating at the Donnelly Corner.
Finally, on March 1, 1998, Highway 43 between Valleyview and Donnelly was renumbered to Highway 49 to allow for Highway 43 to travel west from Valleyview to Grande Prairie and the British Columbia border.
Alberta Transportation is conducting planning studies for upgrades along the Highway 2/49 corridor between Peace River and Valleyview, which includes twinning the portion of Highway 49 south of Donnelly and constructing a bypass around Valleyview. There is no timeline for construction.
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