Highway 63 is one of the most dangerous roads in Alberta, if not in Canada. Ironically, it’s also one of the most important. Fort McMurray is a growing city, critical to Alberta’s economy, so you’d think that the transport between this city and the provincial capital would be safe. Not so. The drive from Edmonton to Fort McMurray – and vice-versa – strikes fear in drivers, sending a shiver down passengers’ spines, each time two cars pass each other.
The Edmonton Journal‘s Sarah O’Donnell reports that a section of Highway 63 is being turned into a four-lane highway. This is a start, but it’s nowhere near where we should be. Every time a person is injured or killed on this highway, it’s an incident that could have been prevented. Here’s what O’Donnell writes:
The condition of Highway 63 and its status as a two-lane road complemented with passing lanes has been a major source of frustration for many residents and workers commuting to the growing oilsands hub.
Despite provincial promises dating back to 2006 to twin a 240-kilometre stretch of the highway within a decade, progress on actual improvements seemed to move at a glacial pace to the thousands of people who routinely navigate the busy road or have loved ones who drive the route.
That pace became a flash point for anger in April after seven people died in a two-vehicle head-on collision. More than 125 people have died on the highway since 1990. Highway 63 went on to become major issue during the provincial election, with all leaders from all parties promising to make the road a priority.
Unless someone steps up to quicken the infrastructure development, the highway won’t be a safe spot for years. And there’s no time to wait for another provincial election for change to take place.