Despite an ever increasing number of lives being claimed on Highway 40, it doesn’t look like twinning will be in the cards anytime soon.
Particularly now that the province has had to tighten up their budget for the coming year, Transportation Minister and GP Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale says there just isn’t the money for it.
“Of course with our financial situation, I just don’t see it. I mean I’d like to twin the highway in my area, but I’m the Minister of Transportation for the entire province of Alberta, and there are other roads that are of a higher need than that one, so in all fairness I couldn’t move it to the top.”
While Highway 40 is not at the top of the list of Alberta highways that need improvements, the minister says at a provincial level it is still being talked about.
“I especially take it very seriously, and we’ve had some real serious discussions around our Minister and Deputy Minister meetings. We have some plans to make some changes in the coming years, but you can’t do that in a few weeks.”
Drysdale says he has also been meeting with industry representatives that operate off of Highway 40 to talk about possible changes that could be made, and has plans to meet with local RCMP this week for a similar discussion.
Currently there is a petition with more than 4000 signatures circulating, urging the provincial government to take some kind of action on Highway 40.
There were intersection and passing lane upgrades started last year that were supposed to wrap up in October.
However those improvements did not get finished by the time winter arrived, much to the disappointment of Minister Drysdale.
“That would have helped the situation, but the fact that the contractor never got finished left it in rougher conditions. He never got the lines painted, and that adds to the mess down there too, when the lines aren’t that visible.”
RCMP say collisions and fatals for Highway 40 in the Grande Prairie response area are up over the past three years consecutively.
There have been 2 fatals and 22 collisions already this year.
Drysdale says he takes it very seriously anytime a life is lost on an Alberta highway, and that his thoughts and prayers go out to those who have recently lost loved ones on Highway 40.