Thursday , 1 October 2020

Highway 881 north of Lac La Biche to get major upgrades

The provincial government will be doing major improvements to Highway 881 north of Lac La Biche to Anzac starting in 2022.

The province will spend more than $50 million over the next four years to add passing lanes, build a new staging/rest area, and improve intersections and roadside turnouts along the route between Lac La Biche and Anzac, they said on Tuesday.

The project will create 145 direct jobs and 100 indirect jobs, the province said.

The 37-kilometre project, which is part of government’s jobs blueprint, starts southeast of Fort McMurray.

Currently, there are no passing lanes in either direction along this stretch of highway.

Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation, said improving Highway 881 will encourage future investment in the energy sector.

“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,” he 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.”

Until 2006, Highway 881 was a two-lane gravel road with narrow shoulders.

Some sections still have narrow shoulders that become congested with high volumes of heavy and over-sized loads.

Upgrades will provide better access to new developments along this stretch of Highway 881.

This announcement is part of the government’s A Blueprint for Jobs, a plan to bring jobs and investment back to Alberta.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.