The Pope Is Visiting Alberta & Edmonton Drivers Should 'Expect Delays' On These Routes

He is in the province from July 24 to 27.

Calgary Staff Writer
Pope Francis. Right: Edmonton.

Pope Francis. Right: Edmonton.

Drivers in the area can "expect delays" as Pope Francis arrives in Edmonton this week, according to the Alberta government.

The Pope is set to land in Edmonton on July 24 and participate in events in Edmonton, Maskwacis and Lac Ste. Anne through July 27.

The Alberta government is expecting more than 120,000 people to attend these events, so there's likely going to be extra traffic on the roads, as well as highway closures and limited access in some places.

How will road closures impact local traffic?

While the Pope is travelling around Alberta, drivers should expect delays due to "rolling road closures". Highways are likely to be busy as huge crowds attend events, indicated a provincial news release. So if you are travelling, it might be worth planning alternative routes wherever possible.

Pope Francis arrives at the Edmonton International Airport on the morning of July 24. The QEII Highway between the airport and the City of Edmonton will be closed until the papal motorcade passes by.

On the morning of July 25, the QEII southbound and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed between Edmonton and Maskwacis. The roads will also be closed when the Pope returns to Edmonton later in the afternoon.

Drivers can also expect "closures, significant delays and limited access" along Highway 611 (eastbound and westbound) and Highway 2A (northbound and southbound) between Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis and Ponoka all day on July 25.

On July 26, the Pope will be heading to Lac Ste. Anne, with Highway 16 westbound, Highway 43 northbound and Highway 633 westbound closed late in the afternoon.

Roads will also be closed in the opposite direction when he makes his return trip to Edmonton.

Closures and restricted access can also be expected toward Highways 16 and 633 and on all range roads and township roads west of Highway 43 and east of Highway 765, south of Lac Ste. Anne.

Highway 633 – between Highways 757 and 43 – will be closed except for buses and local traffic.

The QEII Highway southbound will also be closed on the morning of Wednesday, July 27, as Pope Francis heads back to the airport.

Why is the Pope in Alberta?

Pope Francis is coming to the province as part of efforts to learn how residential schools operated by the Catholic Church impacted Indigenous People.

Throughout his trip, the Pope will meet with Indigenous Peoples and visit a former residential school in Edmonton to "offer an apology to survivors, their families and their communities," per the Alberta government's press release.

He will also participate in the annual pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne – the largest annual Catholic gathering in Western Canada –and conduct an open-air Holy Mass at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

"The visit follows the private meeting Pope Francis had with 30 Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers, and residential school survivors last March to listen to their stories and discuss the ongoing intergenerational trauma that continues to affect them," said the province.

A statement of apology was issued by the Catholic Bishops of Canada in 2021 in the buildup to this visit. Other stops after Alberta on the Pope's schedule include trips to Iqaluit and Quebec City before he departs from Canada on July 29.

To navigate local traffic during his time in the province, Alberta's residents are encouraged by local authorities to consult further details on the provincial website and visit 511 Alberta for "up-to-date road information."

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