Twinning of Highway 63 now 99% complete: Alberta government
EDMONTON – A new, 16-kilometre section of Highway 63 opened Monday, meaning the entire twinning project is 99 per cent complete, the province said.
The new, 16-kilometre section of four-lane traffic opened Monday afternoon between the 129 and 145-kilometre markers.
That part of the highway was shut down for 30 minutes at 2 p.m. to allow for final paving.
“The Highway 63 project is critical to the safety of motorists and to Alberta’s economy,” said Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
“Our contractors have been working hard to complete this project that is so important to Fort McMurray. This year, we have opened 185 kilometres, with 68 kilometres opening ahead of schedule. Combined with sections of the highway opened in previous years, we now have 237 kilometres open to traffic,” Mason added.
The highway connects Edmonton to northern Alberta, including many oil sands sites.
It was dubbed “The Highway of Death” after being the scene of numerous fatal collisions.
“I was shocked and heartbroken to see how many people have lost their lives on these two highways in the last decade,” said Debbie Hammond last winter. Hammond is the executive director of the Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881.
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.
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 was scheduled to be completed by 2016.
In total, 240 kilometres of Highway 63 were set to be twinned, stretching from Highway 55, just outside of Grassland, up to Fort McMurray.
In June, the new NDP transportation minister Brian Mason said the government would be following through on the previous government’s twinning plans.
© 2015 Shaw Media