The communities and industries in Wood Buffalo are growing rapidly. To support this development, Alberta Transportation has invested more than $1.4 billion since 2005 to provide critical infrastructure in Fort McMurray and the Athabasca oil sands region.
The two largest conventional-delivery contracts ever awarded by Alberta Transportation are located in the Fort McMurray Region: $150 million to build Phase 1 of the Parsons Creek interchange and $147 million to twin 32 kilometres of Highway 63 near House River.
Highway 63 construction update
|Grant MacEwan Bridge Fact Sheet (PDF 307 KB)|
Projects recently tendered and currently under construction:
Highway 63 projects expected to be awarded soon:
- 38 km of twinning (grading/paving/bridges) from South of Horse Creek to North of Hangingstone River – summer 2015 completion
- 32 km of twinning base and paving from North of Algar Tower to South of Horse Creek – fall 2015 completion
- 17 km of twinning base and paving work south of Lac La Biche River to south of Wandering River – fall 2015 completion
- 27 km of base and pave near Wandering River – 2015 completion
- 13 km of grading near Hangingstone River – 2016 completion
Current projects in Fort McMurray include:
- Confederation Way and Thickwood Boulevard interchanges are open with temporary ramps. Construction continues and minor remaining work will be complete by summer 2014
- Work also continues to provide access for the Parsons Creek Development with public access to be provided in 2015
Twinning Highway 63
- The Government of Alberta has committed to twinning Highway 63 by 2016.
- The government of Alberta initially committed to twinning of Highway 63 from Highway 55 to Fort McMurray in 2006.
- In addition to 16 km of twinning that was completed south of Fort McMurray and 17 km of twinning north of Fort McMurray, the Alberta government opened 36 km of newly twinned four-lane divided highway north of Wandering River 8 months ahead of schedule in November 2012.
- We continue to make progress on the twinning and have completed much of the initial work, including surveying, tree clearing, grading and a number of consultations. Functional planning work, detailed engineering and design work, and land purchases are ongoing. Highway 63 is unique in Alberta when it comes to construction challenges, including continuous muskeg and boreal forest, pipeline crossings, and the size of industrial vehicles.
- The completion of 265 km of paving on Highway 881 in 2006 provided an alternate route to Fort McMurray and was an important step in taking the pressure off Highway 63, while allowing the twinning to progress.
Construction on Steinhauer, Grant MacEwan Bridges and Franklin tunnel to provide 10 lanes over the Athabasca River – completed fall 2013.
17 km of twinning grading from North of La Biche River to South of Wandering River – completed fall 2013 completion
Slide repairs South of Highway 881 – completed summer 2013
8 km of climbing lanes north of Crow Lake Provincial Park to bouth of Highway 881 junction - completed summer 2013
56 km of tree clearing South of House River to North of Mariana Lake - completed spring 2013
Safety on Highway 63 must be addressed as a priority. Twinning is an important part of improving safety. The Government of Alberta has also taken many additional steps on behalf of Albertans to make Highway 63 a safer road to travel. More sheriffs, increased enforcement, increased signage, education, driver education, and the coordination and support of emergency services are all steps that have been taken to date. While overall collision rates on Highway 63 are slightly below provincial average for roads with similar traffic volumes, this highway is of great concern.
The five-year collision rate Highway 63 from the junction of Highway 55 to the south city limits of Fort McMurray has decreased to 81.87 collisions per 100 million vehicle kilometers for 2006-2010 compared to 84.97 for 2005-2009. This is below the provincial average of 107 collisions per 100 million vehicle kilometers for comparable two-lane undivided highways. A large percentage of the collisions on Highway 63 (40 per cent) continue to involve animals.
Both short-term and long-term safety measures, along with the twinning of Highway 63, will be key to the plans going forward.
| Paving work is underway on the Highway 63 twinning north of Wandering River. As of July 24, construction crews have completed 14 kilometres of the first lift of pavement and within this section, crews have also completed 7 kilometres of the second and final lift of pavement. (July 5, 2012)
View other Highway 63 construction videos and photos.