Sheriffs to take to the sky to catch speeders on Hwy 63
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 4:59PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:25PM MDT
After the province announced increased enforcement of the infamous stretch of highway out of Fort McMurray, CTV News has learned there will not only be officers on the ground, but eyes in the sky – tracking down speeding drivers.
The plan stems from a recent ride-along Alberta’s Solicitor General did with a sheriff along Highway 63.
“I wanted to see it first hand,” Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis, who also represents the riding of Calgary-Acadia said. “Being from southern Alberta you’re a little bit removed from the situation.
“I’d been on ride-alongs in Calgary, [but] I’d never seen something like this before.”
Minister Denis said within 45 minutes, the officer he was with pulled over two drivers for speeding, and when he returned an emergency crew was on its way to a head-on crash.
Thousands of other drivers, such as Gordon Noble, see similar incidents on that highway every day.
“People drive way too fast for that highway,” Noble said. “It doesn’t matter where you go on that road, there is always someone speeding past you.”
The province said by the fall of 2012, aerial traffic surveillance will be implemented for the highway, in addition to more traffic sheriffs to be posted on the highway in the next few months.
As for the effectiveness of the new vantage point, those in the area maintain it’s still not enough, and the highway that is still mostly single carriageway – desperately needs to be twinned.
Minister Denis said that will take time – and in the meantime, aerial surveillance should help make the highway safer.
“Realistically, we do want to see the highway twinned,” Denis said. “That doesn’t happen overnight.
“When it comes to safety like this on the roads, we mean business.”
With files from Kevin Armstrong