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EDITORIAL: Hwy. 2 interchange can’t come quickly enough

Planning work to begin on interchange at Highway 2 and 338 Avenue after funding included in provincial budget.
NEWS-Saturday Crashes BWC 5539 web
Emergency crews attend a collision on Highway 2 at 338 Avenue.

The first step is being taken — thankfully — to make a dangerous stretch of highway safer to navigate. 

Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson’s announcement that money has been included in this year’s provincial budget to begin planning and engineering work on a future interchange at the intersection of Highway 2 and 338 Avenue comes as most welcome news. 

It’s heartening that the government, after some curious decision-making on the file, has seen fit to address a section of highway that has been the site of far too much carnage in recent years. 

A steady stream of crashes in that area prompted the government to announce in 2022 that it would close the medians at 306, 338 and 370 avenues the following summer in a bid to reduce collisions. With an interchange not on the books at that time, it was considered a stop-gap measure, but even that didn't happen as pushback by some of those who would have been inconvenienced by the median closures managed to somehow win out over public safety. 

The reversal allowed a dangerous situation to persist and not long after a 37-year-old man from Coaldale was killed at that intersection. 

Thankfully, the seriousness of the situation is being acknowledged and the Province is taking the first steps on the road to an interchange becoming a reality. The hope is once design work is completed, funding will be announced for construction, although it will be several years before an interchange will ever see its first vehicle. 

In the meantime, that stretch of highway is only going to handle more traffic, and as the northeast sector of Okotoks grows, the 338 Avenue intersection is sure to get busier. It seems inevitable that we’ll endure more collisions while we wait for the project to be finished, but at least we’re travelling in the right direction. 

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