Driftpile looking to lower speed limits, improve safety

Chris Clegg and Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Drivers are not slowing down while driving on Hwy. 2 through Driftpile First Nation. Hence the band council decision to take steps.

Band council recently applied to Alberta Transportation to lower speed limits in selected areas in the interest of safety.

“People are still going too fast through the Nation,” says Chief Dwayne Laboucan.

“With the new store in place now, with people turning in, it is also a huge safety factor there.”

The Driftpile Cree Nation Travel Centre celebrated its grand opening Nov. 15, 2022.

“We are in the process of requesting turning lanes with the highway department,” Laboucan concludes.

Big Lakes County supported a request for a lower speed limit on a portion of land next to the reserve on the west end at its Jan. 11 meeting.

Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors (ATEC) forwarded county council a notice that Driftpile requested the speed limit be reduced to 80 km/hr from 100 km/hr in a 300-metre stretch of Highway 2 within county boundaries.

As part of the motion of approval, county council also wants to provide comments to ATEC to encourage ATEC to maintain a safe, functional, efficient and effective highway network in the Big Lakes region.

Driftpile has also requested the speed limit be reduced on the highway within its boundaries.

Kevin Cymbaluk, the county’s director of public works, supported the request in his report to council.

“We are all about safety,” he said.

Cymbaluk discussed the issue with Mae Stewart, Peace River regional operations engineer with Alberta Transportation. Stewart said Driftpile’s request was triggered by a motor vehicle collision last summer and several previous incidents involving pedestrians. As a result, safety and encroachment are the primary reasons for the proposed speed reduction.

County council also heard an existing crosswalk likely requires some upgrading to comply with current Technical Standards Branch requirements for an 80 km/hr posted speed limit.

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