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Fatal collision renews calls for change at Parkland County intersection with deadly history

Written by Javed Iqbal

Calls to change a notorious Parkland County intersection are being renewed after a fatal collision this week.

Jade Kwasnycia died in a Wednesday afternoon collision at Highway 16A and Range Road 20, an intersection 10 miles northwest of Spruce Grove, Alta. who have seen several killed vehicles.

The 22-year-old died after her sedan collided with a truck, according to a Parkland RCMP news release Thursday.

Emergency services, including STARS Air Ambulance, attended the scene but were unable to save the woman.

The 61-year-old man who was driving the truck was only slightly injured.

“My wife was there when my daughter died,” Bryan Kwasnycia said through tears as he remembered his wife, Michelle Kwasnycia, as the first family member to reach the scene.

She was with their daughter when she took her last breath in an ambulance.

After the death of 22-year-old Jade Kwasnycia on Wednesday, calls have been renewed to change the intersection of Highway 16A and Range Road 20, 10 miles northwest of Spruce Grove. (Submitted by Bryan Kwasnycia)

Kwasnycia said her daughter had her whole life ahead of her and was entering her fourth year of university to teach.

“She worked in the summer with special needs children. She volunteered at the church across the street. Her and her boyfriend made plans to get engaged and married at the end of the school year.”

The family is now adding their voice to a chorus calling on the province to take concrete steps to ensure no other lives are cut short while driving through the intersection.

‘Never been sure’

Kwasnycia, who has lived in the area for 40 years, said the intersection has “never been safe” and locals have been demanding improvements for decades.

He, his wife and his uncle have each had previous collisions while walking through the intersection.

Kwasnycia said it’s dangerous because of the freeway and laneway not crossing at right angles to each other, creating blind spots for drivers.

“We call it the Devil’s Crossroads or the Crossroads of Death,” he said. “It’s just the layout.”

The motorway and the railway do not cross at right angles to each other, which critics say creates dangerous blind spots for motorists. (Google Maps)

A Spruce Grove resident launched a public campaign last year calling for a redesign and relocation after being the first on the scene of a fatal collision.

TJ Holmes, 25, died after his vehicle collided with another on August 2, 2021.

Spruce Grove’s mayor and council say talks with the province have been ongoing for years.

“The real solution is to have the major roads move to feeders and to serve road access,” Mayor Allan Gamble said in an interview Friday.

“And then build infrastructure and overpasses across the freeway so residents don’t have to cross them and cross them directly.”

Division 4 Amt. Natalie Birnie said there has also been a push to lower the speed limit from the current 100km/h.

“I would like to see the speed limit brought down to 80km/h in both directions.”

Measures from the province

Hadyn Place, acting chief of staff to the minister of transportation, said in a statement Friday that the province is working to address safety concerns.

“The department is currently reviewing options for long-term changes that can be made to improve safety at the intersection – including relocating the intersection.

“Community residents 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.

Sted included preliminary data showing that the number of collisions has decreased after the installation of the important intersection sign in 2017.

According to the statement, there were 49 collisions at or within 300 meters of the intersection, excluding those involving animals or terrain. Of these, 28 caused injuries and 21 were impact injuries alone.

There were no fatal collisions between 2014 and 2018.

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Javed Iqbal

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