Sec. Highway 855 Update

Last Friday I was able to tour 855 and nearby impacted county roads with Athabasca County Councillor Travais Johnson and Deputy Reeve Warren Griffin. I have brought this issue up with Alberta Transportation and would like to provide concerned constituents with an update.

First off, the rumours that Transportation is contemplating any permanent closures on 855 are not true. Highway 855 is temporarily closed just south of Township Road 672A, south of Atmore, for about 700 metres. The area is very wet due to quick snow melt, which made the road impassable.

Transportation is monitoring it with the intent to reopen it to traffic as soon as possible, however they do not have a timeline at the moment. The Inspector was there yesterday and water is still seeping out through to the surface of the roadway. It needs more time to dry out. Attempts to blade the road have made the situation worse.

Thanks to the residents and Councillor Johnson for bringing this to my attention. Hopefully we will get this road open again very soon!

Athabasca Advocate – December 5, 2017 Bad trucks beware

New vehicle inspection station opened on Highway 63

Local dignitaries gathered to celebrate the opening of a new $11-million vehicle inspection station on Highway 63 north of Atmore.

On Dec. 1 government officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, which features advanced equipment for inspecting vehicles that pass through the stretch of highway. The province estimated that about 500,000 commercial vehicles will use the station every year. Executive director of the Coalition for a Safer 63/881 Debbie Hammond said with the amount of traffic the stretch of highway has, the facility was needed.

“There’s absolutely a need to have a state-of-the-art facility that can check commercial vehicles and make sure that they’re safe for the drivers, as well as other road users on the highway,” she said.

The province plans to operate the facility 24/7 and staff it with ten transport officers. The officers will conduct inspections that include checking vehicle equipment, cargo securement and driver credentials. Vehicles that fail inspection are pulled off the road until the issue is resolved, with drivers facing possible fines.

Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette said the facility is needed for the area to ensure traffic safety. “It’s wonderful. This is badly needed for Highway 63 to make sure the commercial traffic coming up and down here is safe,” Piquette said.

“It’s good, and important that we got it.” Piquette added that the facility should reduce the number of accidents in the area and is designed to not have an impact on traffic flow.

“I can see it making it safer. The fewer accidents you have, the better traffic flow you’re going to have and of course, more importantly, the fewer deaths and injuries you’re going to have,” Piquette said.  “If you look at the way it’s designed, the existence of the station itself should not have any impact on the traffic flow.” The facility features a Smart Roadside Inspection System, which uses thermal imaging to identify various problems with commercial vehicles.

North region inspector Dan McCormack said the technology of the station is some of the most advanced in the province, which is a boon for the officers managing the facility. “It’s huge, because we probably prescan thousands of vehicles on a daily basis,” McCormack said. “You only have so many officers working in the province. So having that technology allows them to free up (time for) what they’re doing.”

In another project aimed at improving traffic safety, the province also spent $1.2 billion to twin portions of Highway 63. That project completed in May 2016. Alberta Motor Transport Association vice chair Chris Nash said the facility’s location ensures it can capture the high amount of traffic in the area.

“It is all about safety. If we don’t have facilities like this, our roads they go sideways,” Nash said. “It’s going to create the accountability which is what we’re looking for.”

Joseph Quigley


Smoky Lake Signal – October 3, 2017

MLA Colin Piquette speaks at Chamber

Alicia Fox

Colin Piquette, MLA for Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater, was also present at the Sept. 19 Chamber meeting, taking questions and giving an update on the upcoming session .Piquette started out with a light-hearted jest, saying that the re-entry into the Legislature was a birthday present to him as it fell on his birthday – Oct. 30. He doesn’t anticipate anything too controversial coming up, as the budget will be released next spring. One of the items to be discussed is a private member’s bill regarding insurance and registration.

He mentioned that too many people don’t have insurance and it is dangerous for everyone on the roads.

Piquette went on to talk about the economy and how it is growing well, positioned to come out of the recession on track for growth and currently has the fastest growing economy in the country based on a recently released report.

He also talked about the roads and repairs that have been done recently, which was a topic that some of the members in attendance had questions and comments about.

Pat Palechuk, Smoky Lake Town councillor, mentioned that the work recently completed on Highway 855 was very well done and that the contractor was amazing. Highway 28 near Warspite has also had some upgrades done, and Waskatenau’s roundabout to slow down people at the intersection of Highway 831 and 28 has made it on to the provincial government‘s “sunshine list” – or the un-funded list.

Piquette mentioned that it may be able to be pushed onto the funded list with some work. He is also still advocating for H.A. Kostash to be replaced, as the school has numerous upgrades that need to

Member’s Statement May 1, 2017 – 2 Year Retrospective

As we approach the second anniversary of our government and my own as an MLA, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on some of the progress that’s been made in my own riding of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater.

When I was first elected, there were many outstanding issues, some long overdue, that needed to be addressed. For instance, the bridge over the Athabasca River on highway 813 had been in need of replacement since my father was the MLA. Now, thanks to the commitment of our government to make good on years of previous neglect, this is finally happening.

The completion of highway 63’s twinning and the multiple upgrades and curve reductions on highway 28 have made driving much safer for my constituents and indeed for all those who live and work in northeastern Alberta.

Two years ago Athabasca University’s status was uncertain. Now, thanks to our new government, a sustainable future has been assured for the university and for the community that depends on it.

Happily, I would need more than two minutes to list all the improvements to health care facilities, schools, and seniors’ facilities that we have been fortunate to receive as well. These investments speak well to the government’s commitment to the health, education, and well-being of rural Albertans.

The Industrial Heartland is not only of utmost strategic importance to Alberta’s long-term prospects; its local importance cannot be overstated. Thanks to our continued support for the North West Refinery’s phase 1, our petrochemicals diversification program, and, of course, our success in reframing our reputation as a responsible energy producer, investor confidence has been restored and new projects announced. But with increasing development in the Industrial Heartland, traffic has reached critical levels, severely impacting workers, local residents, and jeopardizing future growth. Working closely with municipal and industry partners, we have introduced badly needed intersection improvements to help clear congestion and improve safety.

We’ve made great progress on these issues and on many others, of course, but there’s always much more work that needs to be done, and we will continue towards those goals.