Wetaskiwin residents are taking a stand and calling for changes to be made to a deadly intersection.
Close to 100 people came to a rally at Wetaskiwin City Hall to honour Madison Stephan and to see a change be made to the intersection of Highway 13 and Highway 814 where she died on July 5.
Madison’s boyfriend Hayden was driving at the time. The couple was heading east on Highway 13, turning north onto Secondary Highway 814 when they collided with a westbound semi-truck. Hayden said the truck used the right-hand turn lane of Highway 13 to pass another truck that was turning south onto Highway 814.
It’s just one of many crashes at the intersection. There were five there between 2012 and 2016 and two of those were fatal.
Isaiah Newman organized the rally. He said a long-term plan for the intersection should include a roundabout or traffic lights, but he doesn’t think action should wait.
“Short term, I would like the placement of traffic control devices, or something limiting the speed to 50 km/h,” Newman said.
Newman’s older sister, Briana Kelm, was best friends with Madison. Newman said Madison was also like a sister to him.
Kelm came to the rally with her husband and her 11-month-old daughter. She held a sign that said, “This intersection robbed me of my auntie.”
“I just want people to remember Madi, to know that if she could be here she would, because she has been fighting for years to have that intersection changed,” Kelm said.
“I love her and I hate that I have to be grieving her, and I don’t want anyone else to have to do that.”
Wetaskiwin mayor Tyler Gandam was in attendance at the rally. He said the intersection has been worse in the last five years and it’s unsafe due to impatience.
“Going east and west, there is a through-lane and dedicated right-turn lane, and if somebody at the intersection is turning left, whether it’s into Wetaskiwin or north on the highway, people are going around that right-turn lane and making that intersection unsafe,” Gandam said.
Wetaskiwin City Council had an engineer submit a plan to make the intersection safe. Options include considerations for a roundabout and adding traffic lights.
“On Aug. 19, it will be brought before council and council will have that chance to go through the report and make a decision on what option we would like to see happen and then go through (Alberta) Transportation to have that done,” Gandam said.