Report on fast-tracking Hwy 63 improvements due June 29
Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:02PM MDT
Premier Alison Redford made a stop in Fort McMurray Tuesday, and named a special adviser to the improvement of Highway 63 – also dubbed the ‘Highway of Death'.
Redford planned to meet with Fort McMurray Mayor Melissa Blake, and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen – to talk about expediting the process of twinning the main thoroughfare between the northern city and Edmonton.
At the meeting, the premier named MLA Allen special adviser to the Minister of Transportation on the issue.
The premier said MLA Allen will advise Minister Ric McIver with specific recommendations on ways to speed up the process of twinning the highway.
Allen has until June 29 to submit a report to the premier on the issue. Over the next six weeks, he is to find different ways to improve the highway – not only through twinning, but improved signage, and enforcement.
"It's a priority for us to specifically look with stakeholders, community leaders, and local municipalities at exactly what we need to do, that is targeted and measureable and committed to results," Premier Redford said in Fort McMurray Tuesday.
"Design, which could include more passing lanes, [and] other approaches that can be taken in respect to enforcement and traffic planning, that will allow us to make that highway safer in the interim."
The development comes after a two-vehicle collision last month on the highway that left seven dead.
That collision re-ignited the call to fast-track the twinning of the highway.
In the past, Redford has said that she thinks the work needs to move faster on the crowded and dangerous highway.
Since 2006, 33 kilometres of Highway 63 has been twinned and Alberta Transportation said another 36 kilometres are expected to be twinned by the fall of 2013.
According to the province, 46 people were killed on Highway 63 between 2006 and 2010.
Supporters of the twinning project are expected to hold a demonstration at the legislature Wednesday.
With files from Kevin Armstrong