People who live south of Edmonton want Highway 19 twinned after deadly crash
The day after two men were killed in what police say was a head-on crash south of Edmonton, some people who live in the area spoke out about their concerns with how safe it is to drive on Highway 19.
“Having that twinned would help it immensely… It’s a pretty sketchy road,” said Tracie Sarumowa, who lives on the north side of Devon and drives on Highway 19 several times a week. “There’s been so many scary situations that I’ve seen.
“It’s a dangerous road.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, the RCMP responded to a collision involving two cars on Highway 19 near Range Road 261. Police said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Watch below: Highway 19 was shut down south of Edmonton on Tuesday evening as police responded to a serious crash.
Leonard Litt lives in Devon and uses the highway often. He said he hasn’t heard what may have caused the crash but that the road is very busy and occasionally drivers take chances to pass other vehicles when traffic gets bad.
“You get the odd one (driver) that gets frustrated,” Litt said on Wednesday.
“Twinning it? Yeah, it needs to be done. Because this is the main transport route around Edmonton.”
Litt said he drives on the highway to get to his job at Edmonton International Airport and that even aside from safety concerns, the twinning is necessary simply to relieve traffic congestion.
On Wednesday, Alberta’s transportation minister sent an email to Global News to say his government intends follow through with plans to improve the highway.
“Our government is firmly committed to seeing the three-phase-improvement project through,” Brian Mason said. “The first phase is scheduled to be complete next year and the subsequent phases will follow.
“Once complete, Highway 19 will be greatly improved for everyone who uses it.”
The improvement project, which will see the highway twinned, began in May 2017, according to the government. At that time, work began between Highway 2 and Range Road 253, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019.
The government said it is also working with Edmonton International Airport to plan the twinning and realignment of the middle portion of Highway 19, between Range Road 253 and Range Road 261, however, plans have yet to be finalized.
On the west portion of Highway 19, between Range Road 261 and Highway 60, improvement work is expected to commence “once land acquisition has been finalized and utilities have been relocated,” which is expected to be sometime in 2019, a government spokesperson said.
“The stuff that they’ve done from Highway 2 to the Castrol Raceway has been awesome, but now you’re going from six lanes down to two lanes and that’s going to be a big bottleneck,” Sarumowa said. “I can see that in rush hour.
“With the new outlet mall out there and Costco and everything, that road’s just going to get busier.”
Watch below: (From April 30, 2018) The new outlet mall near the Edmonton International Airport has people excited but there’s also concern about traffic congestion. Albert Delitala explains.
According to Alberta Transportation, the total cost for the Highway 19 improvements is expected to be about $200 million.
The government committed $127 million for the project in the 2018 budget.
–With files from Global News’ Quinn Ohler
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