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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Truckers frequenting northern Alberta’s oilsands operations will have a smoother ride ahead of them, as the province has approved a series of road projects in the area.

The first priority is to pave Hwy. 63 north to Syncrude Canada’s Aurora operation, and that will be done this fall.

“I spoke to the minister (of transportation Ed Stelmach) today, and the paving of Hwy. 63 north of the Peter Lougheed Bridge is on the top priority list because of the amount of traffic,” Fort McMurray MLA Guy Boutilier told local media.

The paving of the 14-kilometre stretch of Hwy. 63 is part of a four-year, $45-million upgrade, set to be completed in 2004.

Several oilsands projects are to be located in the northern section of the province, which means traffic on Hwy. 63 will increase. “An awful lot of people will be moving over that every day. There’s a safety concern, because it’s going to be a very busy highway," says Bill Almdal, director of the Regional Infrastructure Working Group.

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