October 2, 2014 2:10 pm

Twinning of Alberta’s ‘Highway of Death’ on track for 2016: Prentice

October 19 Announcement of 36 km of twinning opening Highway 63 and 2016 completion date for Highway 63 twinning.

October 19 Announcement of 36 km of twinning opening Highway 63 and 2016 completion date for Highway 63 twinning.

Supplied, Alberta Government

EDMONTON – Work is continuing to twin Highway 63, one of the busiest and most dangerous highways in Alberta.

On Thursday, Premier Jim Prentice announced that work had begun on the final 12-kilometre stretch of Highway 63 just north of Highway 55.

“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,” said Prentice.

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The Progressive Conservative government had promised to twin the highway in 2006, but little was done until former premier Alison Redford made it a priority in 2012.

Redford quit politics this year in a scandal over spending, and neither her name nor her contribution to the project was mentioned in the announcement.

In September 2014, the province awarded the final, $71 million contract to Carmacks Enterprise to twin the 12-kilometre section of the highway.

The stretch is scheduled to be completed by 2016.

Prentice said the contract ensures the twinning project will be done on time and on budget.

Read More: Motorists growing increasingly concerned with dangers of Highway 63

The cost for the 12-kilometre stretch isn’t new funding. The money was previously committed.

“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,” said Minister of Transportation Wayne Drysdale.

Read More: A newly-twinned section on Highway 63 opens Monday

In total, 240 kilometres of Highway 63 are being twinned, stretching from Highway 55, just outside of Grassland, up to Fort McMurray.

The entire project is expected to be complete by fall of 2016.

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2014 Shaw Media

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