Calls to change a notorious Parkland County intersection are renewed after a fatal collision this week.
Jade Kwasnycia died in a collision Wednesday afternoon on Highway 16A and Range Highway 20, an intersection 16 kilometers northwest of Spruce Grove, Alta. which saw several vehicle fatalities.
The 22-year-old died after her sedan collided with a truck, according to a news release issued Thursday by Parkland RCMP.
Emergency services including STARS Air Ambulance attended but were unable to save the woman.
The 61-year-old man driving the truck suffered only minor injuries.
“My wife was there when my daughter died,” Bryan Kwasnycia said in tears as he recalled his wife, Michelle Kwasnycia, being the first family member to arrive on the scene.
She was with their daughter as she breathed her last in an ambulance.
Kwasnycia said her daughter had her whole life ahead of her and was about to enter her fourth year of college to teach.
“She was working in the summer with special needs kids. She was volunteering at the church across the street. She and her boyfriend were planning an engagement and a wedding at the end of the school year.”
The family is now adding their voices to a chorus calling on the province to take concrete action to ensure no more lives are cut short crossing the intersection.
“Never been safe”
Kwasnycia, who has lived in the area for 40 years, said the intersection “has never been safe” and residents have been calling for improvements for decades.
He, his wife and his uncle each had previous collisions while crossing the intersection.
Kwasnycia said it was dangerous because the highway and the road did not intersect at right angles, creating blind spots for drivers.
“We call it the devil’s intersection or the intersection of death,” he said. “It’s just the layout.”
A Spruce Grove resident launched a public campaign last year calling for an overhaul and relocation after he was first at the scene of a fatal collision.
TJ Holmes, 25, died after his vehicle collided with another on August 2, 2021.
Spruce Grove mayor and council say conversations with the province have been going on for years.
“The right solution is to have high-volume roads move to feeder roads and to serve road access,” Mayor Allan Gamble said in an interview Friday.
“And then build infrastructure and overpasses on the freeway so residents don’t have to cross and pass them directly.”
Division 4 County. Natalie Birnie said there had also been push to lower the speed limit from the current 100kph.
“I would like that speed limit to be reduced to 80 km/h, in both directions.”
Measures by province
Hadyn Place, the transport minister’s press secretary, said in a statement Friday that the province is working to address safety issues.
“The department is currently reviewing options for long-term changes that can be made to improve safety at the intersection – including relocating the intersection.
“Residents of the community will be consulted on any improvements that will be considered.”
He said short-term safety improvements including an “Important Intersection Ahead” sign with flashing lights, an oversized checkerboard sign and improved lighting had already been implemented at the intersection.
Place included preliminary data that shows the number of collisions decreased after the massive intersection sign was installed in 2017.
According to the statement, there were 49 collisions at or within 300 meters of the intersection, excluding those with animals or off-road. Of these, 28 resulted in injury and 21 were property damage only collisions.
There were no fatal collisions between 2014 and 2018.