Construction to resume on Highway 19 twinning project

·2 min read
Construction will begin this spring on the second phase of a three-part, multi-year improvement project for Highway 19 south of Edmonton. (CBC - image credit)
Construction will begin this spring on the second phase of a three-part, multi-year improvement project for Highway 19 south of Edmonton. (CBC - image credit)

Construction will soon resume on twinning Highway 19 south of Edmonton, which has seen 223 collisions in the past five years.

In an announcement Monday, the federal and provincial governments and the Town of Devon shared details about the twinning of the western leg of Highway 19 — Phase 2 of a three-phase, multi-year improvement project.

The construction, which is expected to start in the next few weeks, will focus on a 3.5-kilometre stretch of Highway 19 between Highway 60 and Range Road 261.

Expected to be completed by October 2022, the work will include twinning on Highway 19, grade widening on Highway 60 and improvements to multiple intersections.

The road improvements are expected to cost $79 million — $48.9 million from the Alberta government, $27.7 million from Ottawa and $2.2 million from Devon.

"Twinning Highway 19 will greatly improve safety," said Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs.

"Separating the eastbound and the 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 critical, vital commercial corridor."

The construction project is expected to create 400 jobs.

Twelve kilometres long, Highway 19 connects Highway 60 near Devon to the QEII near Nisku.

Phase 1 of the project — twinning of the east section, between the QEII and Range Road 253 — was completed in September 2019.

Phase 3 will focus on the middle section, between Range Road 261 and Range Road 253. Planning for the twinning of that section was completed in March 2018. Design, utility relocation and environmental permitting activities are proceeding, according to the province.

2 deaths, 81 injuries in last 5 years

Nearly 10,000 commuter and commercial vehicles travel Highway 19 each day. In the past five years, there have been 223 collisions on Highway 19, resulting in two deaths, 81 injuries and 166 serious property damage collisions, according to the province.

Devon Mayor Ray Ralph said improving Highway 19 has been a priority since before he was first elected to council in 2007.

"Many of us had to have had to commute on Highway 19 on a regular basis and know firsthand how dangerous this highway can be, especially when during poor weather," Ralph said.

"We have seen Highway 19 in the news far too many times over the years for the wrong reasons, and we have lost too many lives on this busy road ... While saving lives is all of our top priority, this project also opens the door to new opportunities for Devon as we continue working hard to grow our community."