Highway 19 twinning project moves into $79-million second phase this spring

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A $79-million second phase of the Highway 19 twinning project will kick off this spring to improve safety on the busy 12-kilometre road connecting communities just south of Edmonton.

Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver announced plans for the second phase of the project Monday afternoon that will see the westernmost 3.5-kilometre stretch go from two to four lanes as well as the addition of a traffic light. Grade widening and intersection improvements between Highway 60 and Range Road 261 will be completed by October 2022. The project also includes widening 1.5 kilometres of road on Highway 60. The third and final middle section between Range Roads 253-261 is undergoing design work and utility reallocation.

McIver said the project, which is expected to create 400 jobs, will make the road safer and reduce the chances for head-on collisions on the busy commuter and commercial highway from Devon to Nisku that carries about 10,000 vehicles daily. In the past five years, there have been 223 collisions on the road resulting in two fatalities, 81 injuries and 166 incidents of serious damage to property.

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The highway expansion is also intended to improve the movement of goods to major highways, rail services and the Edmonton International Airport, just south of Highway 19.

“I think we can all agree that 223 collisions are too many and two lives lost are too many. We need to make improvements,” McIver said. “Twinning Highway 19 will greatly improve safely. Separating the eastbound and westbound lanes will reduce the chances of head-on collisions and protect the lives of every person who uses this road. Twinning will also create more room for industrial and commercial traffic and increase capacity to move oversized loads along a critical, vital commercial corridor.”

The eastern phase of the project between Range Road 253 and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway was completed in September 2019. The first phase cost about $25 million.

Most of Highway 19 is recently annexed land owned by the City of Edmonton and the city called for safety improvements in June of 2019. This included looking at the possibility of roadside turnouts and shoulder spaces that would give more room for police to conduct enforcement. At the time, police said the cost of responding to a serious or fatal collision could range from $12,000-16,000.

This $79-million second phase is being funded through a joint partnership with three levels of government. Alberta is contributing $48.9 million, with the feds funding $27.7 million and the Town of Devon paying $2.2 million.

duscook@postmedia.com

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