June 18, 2024

Councillor Funky Banjoko, who proposed the movement, mentioned final week’s evacuation exhibits the necessity for a completely twinned path to Edmonton.

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Council will ask the Alberta authorities to twin the remaining sections of Freeway 63 and components of Freeway 28. If the province follows by with this demand, the route connecting Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo and Edmonton will probably be twinned solely.

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The movement was accepted at council’s Tuesday assembly. The movement was initially presupposed to be heard at a Could 14 assembly, however that assembly was postponed as a wildfire triggered an evacuation of 4 neighbourhoods. Councillor Funky Banjoko, who proposed the movement, mentioned final week’s evacuation exhibits the necessity for a completely twinned path to Edmonton.

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“On Could 3, 2016, I used to be in Fort McMurray and I witnessed the evacuation of over 80,000 individuals. Most of us travelled on Freeway 63 to come back out of the area. On Could 14, 2024… I stood on the seventh ground of this constructing watching the visitors jam as soon as once more,” mentioned Banjoko. “There’s want and we have to deal with this want.”

Premier Danielle Smith has mentioned the province is prioritizing Freeway 686. This route, which remains to be being designed, would join Fort McMurray to the Peace area. Smith mentioned no determination has been made on totally twinning Freeway 63 to Edmonton, however anticipates will probably be a debate subject.

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“There hasn’t been a call made on that, however I’ve little question that they’ll be a dialogue about that,” mentioned Smith at a Could 15 press convention. “Now we have to make it possible for our financial corridors are effectively resourced, so little question there’ll be a dialog about that in addition to accelerating 686.”

Freeway 63 is totally twinned from Fort McMurray to Atmore, a hamlet in Athabasca County. The freeway goes again to a single-lane route for the rest of the drive. The twinning was completed in late Could 2016.

Council ended their assist for the proposed East Clear Water Freeway final July when it grew to become clear the province had shifted its focus to Freeway 686. This proposed secondary route was pitched after the 2016 Horse River Wildfire. It could have run parallel to Fort McMurray by connecting Anzac and Fort McKay.

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highway 63
Folks cross the Athabasca River on Freeway 63 after the RMWB ordered the evacuation of the Fort McMurray neighbourhoods of Abasand, Beacon Hill, Grayling Terrace and Prairie Creek on Could 14, 2024. Picture from AMA Highway Reviews

Banjoko agreed the area wants a secondary route and had no criticisms of Freeway 686. Councillor Keith McGrath mentioned the municipality ought to work with Athabasca and Thorhild counties as a result of Freeway 63 cuts by them.

Mayor Sandy Bowman agreed with this level and mentioned council is lobbying for Freeway 63’s northern portion to be twinned to Syncrude and Fort McKay. Smith promised final 12 months to twin an additional 12 kilometres of the freeway north of Fort McMurray.

Bowman additionally identified {that a} everlasting street is meant to be constructed between La Loche, Sask. and Fort McMurray. The street was introduced in 2005 as a mission celebrating the centennials for each provinces.

Councillors Stu Wigle and Allan Grandison appreciated the thought, however had considerations it might take the province’s focus away from Freeway 686. Wigle mentioned twinning can be worthwhile due to giant industrial cargo on the freeway heading in the direction of oilsands websites.

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“There’s solely a lot cash the province has and if they are saying ‘we’re going to spend on a freeway and we will make a second one or we will twin this one,’ I’ll vote for the second exit on a regular basis,” mentioned Grandison.

Councillor Kendrick Cardinal was the one councillor against the movement. Councillor Loretta Waquan was absent from the assembly.

memorial
A roadside marker cross for Jason Lebedynski who died on December 31, 2011 whereas travelling on Freeway 63, is seen about 92 kilometres south of Fort McMurray on September 7, 2013. Ryan Jackson/Postmedia Community

Assist from Athabasca County’s council probably

Reeve Janine Paly of Thorhild County mentioned she didn’t but need to converse on the difficulty as a result of twinning Freeway 63 has not been mentioned by council. Reeve Brian Corridor of Athabasca County mentioned he has raised the difficulty informally with different councillors and there’s assist for the thought.

Utilizing numbers from Athabasca County’s hearth chief, Corridor mentioned accidents on Freeway 63 occur almost thrice extra typically than different highways within the county. Lots of them are on the sections that haven’t been twinned.

The twinned sections now not have head-on collisions, however individuals have died in accidents involving animals, alcohol, fatigue, pace or climate.

“Infrastructure tasks are good for growing the security of the travelling public and the Freeway 63 hall is definitely a big hall for the province,” he mentioned in an interview.

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