Alberta minister promises more action on 'death' highway

The Alberta government will soon make an announcement on twinning Highway 63, says the province's transportation minister.

Ric McIver sees Highway 63 with 'own eyes' on long weekend

The Alberta government will soon make an announcement on twinning Highway 63, says the province's transportation minister.

"There's a lot of work being done right now behind the scenes to look at ways to step up efforts," said Ric McIver. "You going to hear a little bit more about that in the near future."

McIver would not give any details.

McIver, appointed transportation minister earlier this month drove the so-called "highway of death" this weekend.

"I had a need to find out what was the condition of the road, need to see it with my own eyes and experience it myself so I could talk with a little bit of knowledge," he said.

McIver drove to Fort McMurray Saturday, taking Highway 881, and returned Sunday on Highway 63.

McIver said he saw a lot of preparation work being done on the twinning the road.

"This isn't something the government woke up (to) the day after this tragic collision," he said. "The government was already dealing with issue. "

In 2006, the Alberta government announced it would twin a 240-kilometre stretch of Highway 63.

So far, 33 kilometres have been twinned.

The southern leg of the road from Wandering River to Highway 55 will be twinned within three years, said McIver.

While in Fort McMurray this weekend McIver met with the area's two MLAs and Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake who said she was encouraged by the visit.

"I don't know many others who have taken the time to drive up on a long weekend — it was a personal trip that he had done — and so for me, that really connotates just how seriously he takes the road."

Twinning supporters are organizing a demonstration at the Alberta legislature Wednesday.