Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Twinning Highway 63 - AB Government Responds

Days after the tragic accident on Highway 63 that killed seven people on what many call the "Deadliest Highway in Alberta, the government responded.  Doug Horner, Deputy Premier of Alberta called the accident tragic, but said he could not give a timeline on when the twinning of the highway could be completed. 

Horner 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."

Horner said that 33 km of the highway had been twinned and another 36 km should be completed by fall this year.

He said that the highway is a priority for the government and if the Premier could wave a magic wand and have it twinned it would be done.

 "If it was in the premier's power to wave her wand today and have it twinned, it would be done," Horner said. "That's not in her power, but it is a priority of this government."

Horner said that the loss of life was painful an he would look into fast tracking the project, but that he was worried that it might not be possible.

 "It is a tragedy, and we are working as quickly as we can to make sure those kinds of tragedies don't occur again. However, we don't know all of the factors around it right now."

The construction on this highway started six years ago and to say the least 33 km in six years has amounted to five km being completed annually.  There are 300 km of highway to complete.  To say the least this is at a snails pace.   One has to wonder how the work was tendered and who estimated the work to determine the difficulties.  

After six years, surely someone did an environmental assessment, did an assessment of the work required and established a timeline.  After all how else was it tendered?  Companies can't tender a contract without that basic knowledge.  So where is the timeline?

With two lanes already in place, the terrain in the area has to be well known.  There is also a network of pipelines that move crude from Fort McMurray to the Edmonton area.   

It took only six years to complete the Alaska Highway, which covered 2700 kilometers through some of the most difficult terrain in North America.   Granted it was an all out war effort and it was given a high priority.  Nonetheless it was completed.

Wildrose leader and Leader of the Official Opposition, Danielle Smith said that making the highway a priority means actually twinning it.

 "If they continue at this rate, they're not going to be done for 70 years," said Smith. "Making it a priority means actually delivering on twinning it."

It's time for the Alberta government to get serious about Highway 63.  Provide a timeline for completion, including the cost and how it will be funded.  Albertans have heard enough excuses over the past six years and it's time for the Alberta government to act in an open and transparent matter.   Not knowing all the factors around it right now, is just not good enough. 

Keep the pressure on the Progressive Government, the time for excuses is over.  Albertans demand action.

 A facebook group has been organized PLEASE TWIN HIGHWAY 63 and has more than 13,000 members in just two days.  If you agree that the Highway should be made a priority and should be twinned take some time to visit and leave a comment for Premier Alison Redford.

There is also a petition Twin Highway 63.  Please take the time to sign it. 


  1. This is not new rocket science - has Horner ever heard of the Alaska highway?? No wait, we can't use that example as it was over 1,000 km and built quickly and over muskeg.

    20 passing lanes (Which would still be required to allow heavy loads to pull over and not block 2 lanes) in each direction could have been built how quickly if they were'nt on a single contractor (With thw biggest party donations) basis.

    As for cost there are at a minimum 10,000 construction guys alone contibuting over $ 30,000/ year in income taxes = $ 300,000,000.00 per year.

    OOOOPPPS - rad paid for (But wait, I need to buy some votes in Edmonton & Calgary!!!)

  2. Thanks for your comments. It certainly isn't rocket science. I can hardly wait to hear what the new Transportation Minister comes up with when Redford appoints her cabinet. The building of this highway is certainly a display of cronyism at its best. Let's see if we get any satisfaction.