It’s full speed ahead on the twinning of Highway 63, according to the provincial transport minister.
Ric McIver visited Fort McMurray today to tour the region and update media on the project’s progress.
He said they’re still on track to meet the 2016 target date for twinning.
“Our work to twin 63 is part of our commitment to highway safety and making investments that benefit Albertans, grow our economy and enhance market access,” McIver said.
“With our many partners pulling together along this corridor, we will meet the accelerated fall 2016 twinning schedule.”
Mayor Melissa Blake said she’s satisfied with the timeline, and is hopeful it will help minimize accidents.
“The twinning of the road is really going to help to separate the traffic a bit better, and its going to give us greater assurances that the frequency of the line crossing, the head-on collisions will get reduced,” she said.
Though no more twinning will be finished this year, the government does say eight new passing lanes will open in the summer.
McIver said most of those head-on collisions happen because of drivers passing unsafely.
“They get impatient, they make bad decisions,” he said. ”
“Lots of times because they’ve been behind a slow-moving vehicle, be it large or small, for a long period of time, and they make bad decisions about when to pass.”
Most of the work will be in grading and tree-clearing; with 60 kilometres graded and 55 kilometres of trees cleared at a cost of just under 100 million dollars total.
Over the course of the summer, the government says there’ll be 250 pieces of equipment and 400 workers on the road.
Blake added that other smaller projects are in the works.
“There is some collaborative initiatives where there’s new opportunity for accessing sand and salt more quickly, and these are things we didn’t experience this year but we will in future years,” she said.
McIver said that in a community that’s growing so quickly, projects like this are only the beginning.
“We also understand that there’s not really a finish line,” he said.
“Particularly in a municipality as rapidly growing and expanding as Wood Buffalo, there’s no finish line. So, we continue to keep up the best we can.”
April 19, 2013