The government of Alberta is providing $50 million to upgrade Highway 881.
Minister of Transportation Ric McIver was in Fort McMurray on Tuesday where he announced the funding which will be spent over the next four years.
The plan is to add passing lanes, build a new staging/rest area, and improve intersections and roadside turnouts.
Speaking to reporters, McIver says this is just one way the province is looking to support the oilsands.
“We feel strongly that the future of Alberta is in this region and we want to make sure the whole world knows we’re open for business.”
The project will cover around 37 km of the road, which connects Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche.
Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, noted this project will benefit many residents across the region.
“This shows the commitment our government has to our region, as well as to oil and gas, and it will really improve the quality of life for so many people that travel along 881 on a regular basis.”
Meanwhile, McIver added it’s not out of the question that the road will be twinned in the future.
“We’ll try to, wherever possible, design the passing lanes so if twinning comes down the road that the infrastructure we’re building now will be a part of a future twinning when and if that occurs.”
Engineering and design work is already underway. Construction is set to start in 2022.
It’s also expected to create around 145 direct and 100 indirect jobs.
-With files from Steph Seidel