Report recommends 22 ways to make Highway 63 safer
Published Friday, June 29, 2012 5:25AM MDT Last Updated Friday, June 29, 2012 6:53PM MDT
A special advisor on Highway 63 has presented his report on the subject, including a number of recommendations, taken from feedback from thousands of Albertans.
The advisor on the improvement of the highway, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen, presented Transportation Minister Ric McIver with the report Friday.
The report outlines several ways the province could improve the notoriously dangerous highway.
“Whenever people are on that road, we want them to start and finish that trip in the same condition, safe and sound,” McIver said. “We will do this with increased enforcement, and enhanced education, and by looking and finding ways to accelerate the construction of the twinning of Highway 63.”
The 22 recommendations address a number of subjects including better driver education, dedicated police presence on the highway, and increasing penalties for high-risk behaviours.
McIvor stated photo radar and toll booths were already out of the question, but he would consider one suggestion that he said took him by surprise.
The minister said the public showed overwhelming support for the idea of confiscating the vehicles of motorists driving excessively fast or dangerously.
However, the first recommendation is to accelerate work to twin the highway – much of which is single carriageway – a costly move at an estimated $550 million.
In the meantime, recommendations for upgrading the highway include more passing lanes, rest areas, signs, maintenance and enforcement.
Critics were quick to accuse the government of stalling.
“It’s time for action, and we’ve seen since 2006 that this was a priority,” Wildrose Transportation critic Shane Saskiw said. “Since then there’s only been roughly 36 kilometres that have been twinned, that’s at a snail’s pace.
“That’s a compliment to say that’s at a snail’s pace.”
McIvor told media gathered at the Legislature on Friday that there was no timeline to implement any recommendations, and no recommendations had been chosen.
The minister said he would report back in the coming weeks on the subject.
With files from Kevin Armstrong