Alberta will not use photo radar or tolls to improve safety on Highway 63, says the province's transportation minister.
"It's been a long-standing policy of the government not to do photo radar on provincial highways and I'm not going to be recommending changing that policy," said Ric McIver on Friday.
McIver said he accepts all other recommendations contained in a report prepared by Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen on preventing collisions on the busy road to Alberta's oilsands, often dubbed the "lifeline" to the province's economic engine and the "highway of death."
While Allen recommended the province do more to speed up twinning the highway, he also suggested the province make more immediate improvements such as building more passing lanes and rest areas; and improving highway maintenance and road markings.
Allen also suggested using photo radar, a dedicated RCMP and sheriff presence on the highway, aerial enforcement of speed limits and higher penalties for violations.
Speeding is such a serious issue on the highway, the province should seize vehicles caught speeding excessively, Allen said.
McIver said he supports all the recommendations in Allen's report other than photo radar.
McIver also said he does not support making the highway a toll road, though the idea was not one of the recommendations in the report.
Twinning a priority
Twinning remains a priority, he said.
In 2006, the province announced it would twin a 240-kilometre stretch of Highway 63.
To date, 33 kilometres have been done, with the province estimating to complete 50 per cent of the job in the next three years.
"Through our investigations we learned if we were to go pay as you go at $50 million a year, (completing the highway) would take 11 years," McIver said. "We already know we can take at least a third off of that.
"We are committed to working hard to shorten that time span further."
But opposition parties slammed the government for not doing just that.
"Everybody knows it needs to be twinned," said Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw. "Yet here we are today, still with no clear timeline on when it will be done. It’s unacceptable."