FORT MCMURRAY, - A newly-elected member of the Alberta legislature says he knows all about the difficulty of driving on a stretch of highway where seven people died Friday.
Progressive Conservative Mike Allen, whose riding is in the area, says he's seen drivers try to pass 20 vehicles at a time on Highway 63, between Fort McMurray and Edmonton.
The Alberta government announced it would twin the 240-kilometre stretch from Edmonton to Fort McMurray in 2006.
But Allen says challenges with the terrain have meant that only 16 kilometres of twinning have been completed.
Police say Friday's crash happened near Wandering River when a pickup truck pulled out to pass another vehicle and collided with another pickup.
A young boy and a 34-year-old man were also airlifted to Edmonton hospitals, but their conditions are not known.
Allen notes that a lot of planning and preparation work for the twinning project has been done behind the scenes, and that Premier Alison Redford told people in Fort McMurray during this month's election campaign that the job remains a priority.
Police said it was snowing in the area at the time of the Friday's crash.
The collision resulted in a serious fire, police said.
Six people were in one pickup, while three others were in the truck that had tried to pass.
Passing motorists pulled a teenaged girl from the pickup that had been passing, police said. She was airlifted to a hospital in Edmonton, but died a few hours later from her injuries.
Between 2001 and 2005, more than 1,000 crashes killed 25 people and injured 257 others on the highway.
The highway is a busy route stretching north of Edmonton to Fort McMurray and north to the oilsands, where thousands of people work and tonnes of material and equipment move daily.