Gateway Gazette

Work begins on final Highway 63 twinning project

The Alberta Government forges ahead to complete the twinning of 240 kilometers of Highway 63 from Highway 55 near Grassland to Fort McMurray by 2016.

Premier Jim Prentice announced (Thursday) that work on the final 12-kilometre stretch of Highway 63 just north of Highway 55 has begun, a clear sign that the government will continue to invest in projects that help improve safety for all motorists along this key north-south corridor to the oil sands.

“With the continued growth in Alberta’s energy sector and regional population, we know travel on Highway 63 will continue to increase. Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensure that travel for residents and visitors to Wood Buffalo is made safer. Completion of this project also supports Alberta’s energy sector as our province’s and country’s economic engine. This final contract keeps us on track to meet our promise to all Albertans to complete the Highway 63 twinning by 2016.”

~ Jim Prentice, Premier

“Government has fast-tracked the Highway 63 twinning and other key Fort McMurray transportation infrastructure projects because they are so important to all Albertans. Our government’s commitment of capital investments, exceeding $1.4 billion, which includes Highway 63 twinning work, urban upgrades in Fort McMurray and work on Highway 881, shows a government that is moving forward for Albertans.”

~ Wayne Drysdale, Minister of Transportation

“I applaud Premier Prentice for today’s announcement, which marks a turning point for all drivers who use Highway 63. The Coalition continues to help educate drivers to make safe decisions when they are behind the wheel and we know that completing the Highway 63 twinning will provide a safer route for everyone.”

~ Debbie Hammond, Executive Director, Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881

Nearly $425 million of Budget 2014 is dedicated to Highway 63 twinning construction.

Contracts awarded:

  • September 2014 –The final, $71 million contract was awarded to Carmacks Enterprise, covering 12 kilometres of base and paving twinning just north of the Highway 55/Highway 63 junction, and construction of a new inspection station – 2016 completion.
  • January 2014: Grading of 13 kilometres on Highway 63, north of Hangingstone River worth $16 million – 2015 completion.
  • December 2013: Base and paving of 17 kilometres, south of Wandering River worth $31.8 million – 2015 completion.
  • December 2013: Base and paving work for 27 kilometres, near Wandering River and north worth $46.6 million – 2015 completion.
  • December 2013: Base and paving of 32 kilometres, north of Mariana Lake worth $27.2 million – 2015 completion.
  • November 2013: Grading, base and paving work for 38 kilometres near the Hangingstone River worth $129.5 million – 2016 completion.

The contracts, which were awarded through a competitive tender process, represent a major investment in this key transportation corridor.

Investing in the future

Premier Prentice is focused on supporting growth in Alberta’s energy sector as part of his government’s plan to strengthen the province’s economy. At the same time, the Alberta Government is moving ahead with plans across the Wood Buffalo region to improve infrastructure and services for residents, including Highway 63 and other roadwork, new schools and residences for seniors.

Twinning between Highway 55 and Fort McMurray is one of many Highway 63 projects currently under construction to promote safe travel for Albertans and industry, support market access and economic opportunities in the core transportation network, and improve the flow of goods and services.

Alberta Transportation has invested more than $1.4 billion towards various Highway 63 and 881 projects since 2005, providing critical infrastructure for the Athabasca oil sands region. In addition, more than $530 million in municipal grant funding has been allocated in the last eight years to support local priorities.

Within the urban area of Fort McMurray, key projects already completed include the new five-lane Athabasca River Bridge, rebuilding of the Steinhauer Bridge and development of the Franklin Avenue Tunnel as part of rebuilding Grant MacEwan Bridge. Confederation Way and Thickwood Boulevard interchanges are complete and open to traffic, with only minor deficiency work remaining.

As with all construction zones in the province, drivers on Highway 63 are reminded to obey all signs, flag people and posted speed limits in construction zones. Speed fines are doubled when workers are present. Please leave extra time for your travels and drive with care.

Up-to-date road information, including traffic delays, is a click or a call away. Call 5-1-1 toll-free, visit 511.alberta.ca or follow us on Twitter @511Alberta to get on the road to safer travel.

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