Edmonton

Grieving mother urges Alberta to twin Highway 63

A Fort McMurray mother whose son died in a New Year's Eve crash on Highway 63 is urging the Alberta government to speed up efforts to twin the road.
A mother who lost her son in a crash on Highway 63 took her message to the Alberta legislature 2:38

A Fort McMurray mother whose son died in a New Year's Eve crash on Highway 63 is urging the Alberta government to speed up efforts to twin the road.

Jason Lebedynski, 22, was killed while he was driving to Edmonton. Since then, his grieving mother Annie Lelievre collected 6,000 signatures on a petition.

"My son shouldn't have had to be killed — and its all head-ons," she told reporters at the Alberta legislature. "That's why I'm fighting for the twinning of the highway."

The province promised in 2006 to twin Highway 63, but progress has been slow. Dozens of people, including Lelievre's son, have died in crashes since then. Anger peaked late last month when seven people died in a head-on collision.

In response, the government made Mike Allen, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, a special adviser who will report next month on whether the current construction schedule can be accelerated.

"All these tragedies just put another exclamation mark on the need to get it done," he said.

Meanwhile, Lelievre has the support of NDP MLA Deron Bilous, who introduced her in the legislature on Tuesday. 

"This is a major route for oversized vehicles, for hauling machinery for the transportation of workers of children of residents and so the government has a responsibility in ensuring that they get to and from the lower Athabasca region safely," he said.

As she drives Highway 63 each week, Lelievre sees the cross that marks the spot where her son died.

"Twin this highway so nobody has to go through what I've been going through every day," she said