Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Highway 63.....more than just asphalt.

My apologies that the blog has been a bit quiet here lately.  Work-wise I'm in the middle of an extra long shift so I find myself with little energy at the end of the day.  Plus a little tenant drama, which I may or may not get into later, has been a minor distraction.  At any rate, for the past few days I had been planning another post on the issue of twinning Highway 63 so I best get to it here else I'll my thoughts may just evaporate in this warm spring weather.

I did want to start off by highlighting a couple posts by other Alberta drivers who are familiar with this highway.  Local blog, McMurray Musings, points out here that safety is everyone's responsibility and we must all play our part.  I particularly like her suggestion of taking down license plates of vehicles engaged in dangerous driving.  I'm sure it wouldn't take very many reports of company vehicles being reported before the oil sands companies and their many contractors took a more active roll.  Afterall, Highway 63 isn't just a route to my house but helps make these companies' prosperity possible.   Theresa goes on to write of her own recent experience on the highway as well.

In the aftermath of the most recent tragedy I think many were quick to point out (correctly of course) that people need to slow down and drive more responsibly.  This is only part of the solution.  The other half is the twinning.  Why?  Simply because of the volume of traffic on 63 and the size of the vehicles that drive it.  I'm not sure how many people realize just what travels up here.  I've only lived here a couple years and I've seen and heard of some crazy things.  I've seen heavy equipment and all sorts of huge metal objects destined for the oil sands that I can't even begin to fathom what the heck they were.  There are also a great deal of flatbeds and transport trucks.  Now, going to university in Windsor, Ontario, I saw a great deal of truck traffic, particularly along that stretch of Huron Church Road from the 401 to the Ambassador Bridge.  If you've ever driven this short stretch you know what I'm talking about.  The truck traffic on 63 reminds me very much of what I've seen back in Windsor, the difference of course being that Huron Church Road is a divided 4-lane road and 63 is a mere two lanes until you get within about 20km or so of town.  But don't take my word for it.  Another Alberta blogger, who frequently travels 63 actually recorded the volume and type traffic he experienced during a recent drive.  You can find it here.

So getting down to work on this highway is (or should be) a priority for our new government.   The question is, will it happen?   Not only is there amply reason for the highway to be twinned but the government PROMISED it would happen. Initial indications don't encourage me.  Our new Transportation Ministers hails from way down in Calgary.  I wonder how familiar he is with the highway outside of media reports and an Alberta road map?  According to a recent news item the minister (that would be Ric McIver) stated that the twinning of 63 is just one of many priorities.  Well, Mr. Minister, by definition, all the road projects the province must deal with, can't all priorities at the same time.  I think he is a little confused on what the definition of a priority is, but I digress.

Anyhow, I would encourage everyone interested in this issue to write the Minister and keep this issue on the forefront.  If you haven't already done so, check out Twin63now.ca, for updates, protest ideas and information on this issue.  (I see that they've linked to my blog on their site. (blush))

Premier Redford......Ric McIver, the ball is in your court.


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