The province of Alberta is spending more than $50 million over the next four years to upgrade Highway 881 between Lac La Biche and Anzac.
Upgrades will include passing lanes, a new staging and rest area, and improved intersections and roadside turnouts. There are currently no passing lanes in either direction along the stretch of highway.
“We are focused on growing our economy and getting Albertans back to work, and our Blueprint for Jobs is our plan to bring jobs and job creators to Alberta through targeted investments in key infrastructure,” Alberta minister of transportation Ric McIver said.
“Highway 881 is an important route for heavy trucks, equipment and passenger vehicles moving north into Alberta’s oilsands. Upgrading this highway will make travel easier for drivers on this route by building passing lanes to get around the heavy and super-heavy equipment heading to our oilsands regions. Improving Highway 881 will also encourage future investment in our energy sector by making it easier to move into and out of northern Alberta,” he added.
“Highway 881 is an important transportation route within our region. This project will not only improve the safety of all those who travel along this route, it will expand economic opportunities for the communities and projects along this highway. This much-needed upgrade, including passing lanes, will improve the lives of those who live and work in this region,” Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Laila Goodridge said.
Until 2006, Highway 881 was a two-lane gravel road with narrow shoulders, and some section still have narrow shoulders and can become congested with high volumes of heavy and over-sized loads, a government of Alberta release stated.
Engineering and design work is currently underway, and construction is slated to begin in 2022.