by Jessica Jones
For the Pipestone Flyer
The completed construction to improve the intersection at Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 814 that lies north of the Wetaskiwin Hospital, which saw a fatal collision last July, will be safer and more functional, city staff say.
The construction started early October at the busy intersection, which saw traffic coming from Hwy. #2A from the west and Camrose to the east. It is the primary entrance to the City of Wetaskiwin to the south, along with being “the back road to Millet” to the north. It was previously alleged that drivers were using a turning lane as a through-lane at the intersection.
The project’s scope at the Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 814 intersection, which was completed on Nov. 1, was to improve the existing intersection by extending and adding medians, as to not allow drivers to make illegal passes in the turning lanes, lowering the speed limit to 60 kms, and to improve the appearance and functionality of the intersection by repaving and painting new lane lines, noted the City’s Engineering and Development Department.
Drivers are now prevented from using the right turning lanes to pass left turning vehicles.
During the summer months, many members of the Wetaskiwin community lobbied for changes to the intersection following a fatal collision at the intersection, in which a young woman was killed.
“The City of Wetaskiwin spoke very loud and very clear about why the changes needed to be made and the urgency it needed to be done,” Mayor Tyler Gandam said.
“I’d like to thank the residents who helped organize the rally, sent emails, letters, or made phone calls to the provincial government. Without all of you, I don’t think we would’ve seen such a quick response.”
While total costs have not yet been received, the City anticipates that the project will be on budget at $437,000 for the improvements. Grant funding for the project was not used but the Province of Alberta has committed to 25 per cent of the cost, noted the Engineering and Development Department.
“I think the project went extremely well,” Gandam said. “The Minister of Transportation, Ric McIver was more than accommodating when it came to discussing our urgent need of a design change at the intersection of Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 814.
“Our MLA, Minister (of Indigenous Relations) Rick Wilson was key in getting Alberta Transportation the engineer’s report and echoing the City’s concern about the intersection.”