After a fatal collision involving a teenager, an Alberta community has passed a bylaw that allows local traffic only on its roads.
Thorhild County council passed the bylaw to stop big trucks from using county roads as a short cut.
“It’s been suggested that there’s a provincial scale on the provincial highway that maybe some people were trying to avoid. We can’t substantiate that, but that was one of the reasons we think that people were travelling through there,” CAO Wayne Franklin said.
The decision came a few weeks after Masie Watkinson, 15, was killed when the school bus she was on was hit by a gravel truck on March 7.
Watkinson died at the scene of the collision on Opal Road and Township 594 north of Redwater. Police said the bus was rear-ended by the truck during an exceptionally foggy morning.
A spokesperson with Aspen View Public Schools said the bus was taking students to Thorhild Central School, a kindergarten to Grade 12 school located in Thorhild, Alta. when the crash happened at around 8 a.m.
“It’s something council was looking at for some time. Opal Road is a municipally maintained road, it’s done through the municipal budget, and so if outside trucking happens on this road and destroys the road then the municipality has to pick up the cost,” Franklin said.
“That’s what provincial highways are for, is to handle the thru truck traffic, not municipal roads.”
The cause of the fatal collision is still under investigation.
The loss of Masie impacted the community greatly.
Maisie’s sister Andrea shared an Instagram post: “My heart aches for my parents and my brothers. My little brothers were so brave today and did what they could to save their big sister.
“That’s my girl and my whole world. My family and I are devastated by this tragedy. We will get justice for Maisie.”
The principal of Thorhild Central School said everyone at the school was devastated to lose a student.
“Thorhild Central School is a close-knit family and this tragedy fills us all with an immeasurable sense of loss. Together we will support and comfort everyone in our community through this difficult time,” Kim Carson said in a letter.
Watch Below: An entire community is grieving, one day after a teenage girl was killed in a collision between a school bus and a gravel truck north of Redwater.
The county said the first offence for violating the new bylaw is $500 and any offence after that is $1,000. A community peace officer will be patrolling back roads in the county.
Signs will be posted soon, notifying motorists about the traffic change, the county said.