Facebook groups and a rally this past weekend have pressured politicians to twin the highway. Twinning started in 2006, but only 33km have been completed so far, while the Province says approximately another 30 km should be twinned this year.
Newly elected Premier Alison Redford said that the highway will be a top priority for her government and that once she announces the new cabinet today, she will make it the top priority for the Transportation Minister. She called it a ``unique road`` and acknowledged safety concerns.
"I have asked our department to take a look at what an accelerated schedule will look like," Redford said.
"In our current capital plan, we have always anticipated that at least 50 percent of that road would be twinned within three years. We need to act faster than that."
Her Deputy Premier Doug Horner earlier said that the construction crews had to deal with marshlands, which had significantly slowed progress on the project.
"If you've got a bottomless bog, how do you fill that?" Horner said. "So they've got to do some interesting things there.
"You've got to make sure the highway is safe when it's complete too, because you don't want the bottom falling out of it."
While driver behaviour is certainly part of the problem on the stretch, one can`t dismiss the importance of twinning the highway. The road is used by the oilsands industry to transport its equipment and one can also understand the frustration of drivers, who sometimes run out of patience, with very limited space to pass. While this is not an excuse for bad behaviour, twinning would certainly stop head on collisions.
During the four day blitz, RCMP and Alberta Traffic Sheriffs laid a total of 663 charges, including:
- 552 speeding violations
- 95 violations, including dangerous driving
- 4 alcohol-related violations and one 24-hour suspension
- 4 seatbelt or child restraint infractions
- 8 violations from having no insurance to driving while suspended
"At the end of the day, this is not about resources or whether enough of our highways are twinned, this is about driver behaviour, and the decisions drivers are making when they're out on our highways."
The violations issued during the four day blitz were double those normally issued for the same time frame. Enough people have been killed on that highway and drivers should get the message by now. Let`s change the behaviour but continue to push for twinning of this highway. A little weight off the peddle along with twinning should go a long way to reduce the senseless deaths on this highway.