Preparations underway for rally to twin Highway 63
Published Friday, May 4, 2012 7:02PM MDT
Final preparations are underway, as thousands are expected to attend a rally – demanding immediate twinning of a highway, that's been called the ‘Deadliest Highway in Alberta'.
Nicole Auser is one of the organizers of the rally, and hopes the event will bring positive changes to the highway – especially after a head-on collision a week ago that took the lives of seven people, affecting three separate families.
A Mark Penney and toddler Timothy Wheaton are still recovering from injuries sustained in the fiery head-on collision.
Many in Fort McMurray feel the crash could have been avoided, if Highway 63 had been twinned. Much of the highway is a single carriageway, with north and southbound lanes sharing the same road.
"Once the highway is twinned, the northbound lanes and the southbound lanes will be separated," Auser said. "So in the case of driver error, there won't be a fatal head-on collision like there has been so many times before."
Since 2006, 33 kilometres of the highway has been separated into a dual carriageway – with another 36 kilometres projected to be twinned by the fall of 2013.
In the days following the fiery crash on Friday, April 27, the province has been criticized for the apparent slow speed of work done on the highway.
On Monday, Deputy Premier Doug Horner told CTV News officials have to build the twinned road on marshland, which has slowed work.
Premier Redford said on Wednesday once she appoints a new cabinet, she will ask the new Minister of Transportation to make the twinning of Highway 63 a top priority.
As for the upcoming rally, nearly 3000 people have confirmed their attendance through Facebook.
The event is expected to start at 11 am Saturday, at MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray.
With files from Amanda Anderson