If you have driven to or from Devon on Hwy 19 within the last few days you have no doubt noticed the two large signs posted along the roadside reading "EIA Stop The Delays, Twin Hwy 19 Now".
The signs were placed by residents of the Sprucedale community, the people most affected by the proposed twinning of the highway. Contrary to some rumours the residents along Hwy 19 are not opposed to the twinning project. What they are opposed to is the alternate route that the proposed twinning could be taking in order to accommodate a third runway at the Edmonton International Airport.
The planned placement of the third runway would force Highway 19 slightly north of it's current path which residents say would severely impact two separate churches as well as area residents.
The original plans were to twin the highway along the exact route that it currently runs, so for years now many private property parcels lining both sides of Hwy 19 have been purchased by developers anticipating the twinning. If the plans had remained as originally presented the impact on the churches and residents would have been minimal and the project much anticipated. However, Curtis Makepeace, an area resident who has been involved in all the meetings and information sessions over the last several years, wonders aloud why Alberta Transportation seems to be taking it's direction from the EIA.
"We have attempted numerous times to put together a meeting between ourselves and people from both EIA and Alberta Transportation. However we have never succeeded in doing so, and have never even been able to get a response from anyone that could give us real answers. We have tried to contact EIA through their County Liason, as well as through Council, and even they have not been able to get the ball rolling." said Curtis. "All we have ever wanted is to have our questions answered in a public setting so everyone could be on the same page. Instead, there were secret meetings held between AB Transportation and EIA that we were never privy to and always found out about after the fact. There was a public meeting scheduled a few months ago between Leduc County and AB Transportation which was changed to a private meeting at the last second at the request of Alberta Transportation. So now we finally have a meeting set up that will include everyone and we are really hoping that the EIA Board of Directors, and the Minister of Transportation Ric McIvor, will be in attendance to explain themselves."
Flyers and posters have been distributed around the County in an effort to inform all those interested about the meeting, and to encouraging everyone to attend. This meeting will take place on Tuesday March 19th, beginning at 5:30pm at the Nisku Inn.