Improving Road Safety on Highway 63

By Gateway Gazette

Dec 06

A new commercial vehicle inspection station on Highway 63 north of Atmore will help save lives and reduce collisions by taking unsafe vehicles off the road.

Chris Nash, vice chairman, Alberta Motor Transport Association Board of Directors, Debbie Hammond, executive director, Coalition for a Safer 63/881, Inspector Daniel McCormack, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Branch (CVEB), MLA Colin Piquette and Chief Steve Callahan, CVEB at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Atmore Vehicle Inspection Station.

Highway 63 is one of the busiest highways in Alberta. More than 1.5 million vehicles use the stretch of highway this station is on every year. The new $11-million vehicle inspection station will increase safety on the highway by ensuring commercial vehicles are complying with provincial and national safety standards.

Transport officers will conduct inspections that include checking vehicle equipment, safety features, cargo securement and driver credentials. When a vehicle or driver fails an inspection, they are taken off the road until the problem is solved, and they may also be fined.

“Safety on Alberta’s roads and highways for all drivers is a top priority for the government. The new Atmore station will help make this critical transportation corridor safer for all to travel and I’m pleased this facility will ensure that vehicles on the road are safe.”

~Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

“Highway 63 is an essential transportation corridor that connects Fort McMurray with the rest of Alberta. By helping to ensure commercial vehicles are in safe working order, the new Atmore station reflects our commitment to keeping Albertans safe while travelling to and from Fort McMurray.”

~Marlin Schmidt, acting minister of justice and solicitor general

“There is a wide variety of industry and commercial vehicle traffic in my constituency. This new inspection station will increase safety and make a difference in the lives of the many people who live, work and travel in the area.”

~Colin Piquette, MLA, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater

“The Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881 is pleased to see the new vehicle inspection station open on Highway 63. Our mandate is to ensure everyone arrives safely at their final destination and we feel this new station will help us achieve that mandate. When I think about Highway 63, even just three years ago and today, we’ve seen significant improvements which go a long way to achieving safer roads in this province. This new initiative is a huge step towards our goal of achieving zero fatalities on the highways we serve.”

~Debbie Hammond, executive director, Coalition for a Safer 63/881

“As the safety association representing commercial drivers in the province, the Alberta Motor Transport Association is pleased to support the opening of the Atmore station in order to improve vehicle and public safety along Highway 63. We applaud the government in opening this site to help remove unsafe vehicles from the province’s highways, and are pleased with the unique median location allowing for vehicle stoppage in either direction.”

~Lorraine Card, president, Alberta Motor Transportation Association

Quick facts

  • About 500,000 commercial vehicles will pass through the Atmore station every year.
  • In addition to inspecting vehicles, officers posted at this station also patrol highways around Atmore, Lac la Biche and Athabasca, including highways 63, 881 and 55.
  • When fully staffed, the Atmore station will have 10 employees and be able to run 24/7. Currently, seven staff work out of the station.
  • As a leader in the use of advanced technology, Alberta’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Branch was the first in the country to adopt thermal imaging to automatically identify high-risk and problematic commercial vehicles from the roadside without disrupting the flow of traffic.
  • The Smart Roadside Inspection System uses thermal imaging to identify parts of a vehicle with excess heat buildup and can identify safety concerns such as flat tires, deflated air suspensions, overloaded axles, hub failures and inoperative brakes.
  • Alberta’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Branch also uses performance-based brake testers and weigh-in-motion systems to help officers find vehicles that do not meet safety standards.

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