The Government of Alberta announced plans to fast-track the twinning of Highway 63 for completion by the fall of 2016 on Friday.
The announcement was made by Transportation Minister Ric McIver during the opening of a newly twinned 36-kilometre stretch of highway just north of Wandering River, which is approximately 200 kilometers south of Fort McMurray.
“Our highway network must support the safe and efficient movement of people and commodities to, from, and around Fort McMurray,” said McIver.
“This is about investing in a region that makes a tremendous contribution to the province’s economy. This is about investing in Alberta’s future.”
Highway 63 motorists will travel a safe, completely divided four-lane roadway between Grassland and Fort McMurray, stated the press release.
“Our government promised quick action on Highway 63, and we’re delivering on that promise and more,” said Premier Alison Redford.
“I believe improving safety for travellers along Highway 63 demands a comprehensive solution - one that includes enforcement, education, accelerated twinning construction, improved emergency response as well as improving Highway 881," she added.
The plan will also include improvements to Highway 881.
Approximately $778 million will be spend on twinning the remaining sections of Highway 63, a busy highway between Fort McMurray and Edmonton, is known for accidents.
There have been more than 125 fatalities on the highway since 1990, the Edmonton Journal reported.
Recommendations for the highway were addressed by Mike Allen, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo in a report titled "Towards a Safer 63."
The report also included suggestions such as enhanced driver education, establishing a dedicated law enforcement presence on the highway and increasing maximum penalties for high-risk behaviours, the release added.