First leg of Highway 63 twinning crosses the finish line

FORT McMURRAY, Alta. — Drivers traveling between Highways 881 and 69 are now being treated to a four-lane divided highway on the south end of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The 16 km stretch of road marks the first leg of twinning on Highway 63 at a cost of $53 million.

“This first leg of twinning south of Fort McMurray addresses one of the busiest sections of Highway 63 and will go a long way to improving traffic safety for motorists,” said Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation.

The northbound and southbound lanes on Highway 63 and the intersection of Highways 63 and 881 were closde for a short period on Nov. 25 to complete line painting. More than 10,000 vehicles use this section of Highway 63 on a daily basis, almost double the traffic volume on the rest of the highway.

A northbound truck staging area was also completed at an additional cost of $6 million, located approximately five kilometers north of Highway 881.

The new staging area provides space for up to 12 oversized loads, more than triple the size of the previous parking area in front of the Visitor Information Centre. This parking was removed earlier this year with the expansion of Highway 63 to three lanes of traffic north of MacKenzie Boulevard.

Construction on the remaining 224 kilometres of twinning south of Highway 881 to the junction of Highway 55 near Grassland will begin as designs are completed and federal environmental permits are obtained.

The estimated cost of twinning the 240 kilometres of highway is more than $1 billion.

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