Alberta Highway 63

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Alberta Highway 63 shield

Highway 63
Route information
Length: 443 km (275 mi)
Major junctions
South end: Hwy 28 / Hwy 829 southwest of Radway
  Hwy 18
Hwy 55
Hwy 881
Hwy 69
North end: North of Fort MacKay
Location
Specialized
and rural
municipalities:
Thorhild County, Athabasca County, Lac La Biche County, Wood Buffalo R.M.
Major cities: Fort McMurray
Villages: Boyle
Highway system

Provincial highways in Alberta

Hwy 62 Hwy 64
Highway 63 in Fort McMurray
Highway 63 north of Fort McMurray

Alberta Provincial Highway No. 63[1] is a north–south highway in northern Alberta, Canada. In the south, Highway 63 begins at its intersection with Highway 28 approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) southwest of Radway, passing through Boyle and Fort McMurray before ending approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) north of its second crossing of the Athabasca River near Fort MacKay.

Much of Highway 63 passes through boreal forest, although aspen parkland and farmland is predominant as far as Wandering River. The highway also passes through the Athabasca Oil Sands between Fort McMurray and Fort MacKay.

From its terminus to Fort McMurray, the highway is designated as a core route of Canada's National Highway System.

Highway format[edit]

Highway 63 sees an increasingly high volume of traffic due to the growing oilsands industry in the Wood Buffalo, causing potentially serious transportation-related problems. Trucks carrying large equipment can cause traffic delays, since they can be large enough to occupy two traffic lanes. Most of the highway is two-lane undivided highway, with the exception of approximately 55 km (34 mi) from south of its intersection with Highway 881 through Fort McMurray to south of Fort MacKay. It is also the only all-weather road leading out of Fort McMurray, which makes it a critical link to the growing community.

After years of both public and political pressure, the provincial government has announced in February 2006[2] that it would begin twinning the entire two-lane portion of the highway to a four-lane divided standard from Atmore to just south of Fort McMurray. The twinning began in 2006 and was estimated to take at least five years to complete.[3]

As of October 2009, the twinning of approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) of this 240 km (150 mi) corridor had been completed,[4] with another 16 km (9.9 mi) expected to be graded by fall 2011.[5] In October 2012, it was announced the remaining portion of Highway 63 between Grassland and Fort McMurray will be twinned by the end of 2016[6] and 36 km (22 mi) of twinned highway opened near Wandering River on November 5, 2012.[7] Interchanges within Fort McMurray at Confederation Way and Thickwood Boulevard are scheduled for completion in fall 2013.[8]

Safety concerns[edit]

Between 2001 and 2005, over 1,000 crashes occurred on Highway 63 in which 25 people were killed and 257 others were injured.[9]

Major intersections[edit]

Municipality km Description coordinates
Thorhild County 0 Begins at Alberta Highway 28.svg Highway 28 and Highway 829 near Radway 54°02′14″N 113°01′33″W / 54.0372°N 113.0257°W / 54.0372; -113.0257
13 Intersects with Alberta Highway 18.svg Highway 18 and Highway 656 54°09′06″N 113°01′37″W / 54.1518°N 113.0269°W / 54.1518; -113.0269
34 Intersects with Highway 661 at Newbrook 54°19′33″N 112°56′23″W / 54.3259°N 112.9398°W / 54.3259; -112.9398
Athabasca County 64 Intersects with Highway 663
Highway 663 concurrency begins
54°35′15″N 112°56′43″W / 54.5874°N 112.9453°W / 54.5874; -112.9453
Village of Boyle 73 Intersects with Highway 663
Highway 663 concurrency ends
54°35′16″N 112°49′06″W / 54.5879°N 112.8183°W / 54.5879; -112.8183
74 Intersects with Highway 831 54°35′38″N 112°48′19″W / 54.5940°N 112.8052°W / 54.5940; -112.8052
Athabasca County 89 Intersects with Alberta Highway 55.svg Highway 55 westbound, begins multiplex 54°43′58″N 112°48′16″W / 54.7329°N 112.8045°W / 54.7329; -112.8045
103 Passes Grassland 54°49′15″N 112°40′33″W / 54.8207°N 112.6758°W / 54.8207; -112.6758
112 Intersects with Alberta Highway 55.svg Highway 55 eastbound near Atmore, ends multiplex 54°49′05″N 112°34′28″W / 54.8181°N 112.5745°W / 54.8181; -112.5745
156 Passes Wandering River 55°12′05″N 112°27′58″W / 55.2014°N 112.466°W / 55.2014; -112.466
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 250 Passes Mariana Lake 55°57′12″N 112°00′50″W / 55.9534°N 112.0139°W / 55.9534; -112.0139
336 Intersects with Highway 881 56°31′08″N 111°19′00″W / 56.519°N 111.3166°W / 56.519; -111.3166
352 Intersects with Highway 69, enters Fort McMurray 56°39′32″N 111°20′05″W / 56.6589°N 111.3348°W / 56.6589; -111.3348
362 Crosses Athabasca River 56°43′53″N 111°23′53″W / 56.7315°N 111.3981°W / 56.7315; -111.3981
365 Leaves Fort McMurray 56°45′23″N 111°24′51″W / 56.7565°N 111.4141°W / 56.7565; -111.4141
412 Intersects with Fort MacKay Access Road 57°07′17″N 111°38′00″W / 57.1213°N 111.6333°W / 57.1213; -111.6333
413 Crosses Athabasca River 57°08′02″N 111°36′40″W / 57.134°N 111.611°W / 57.134; -111.611
429 Terminates north of Fort MacKay 57°24′39″N 111°37′36″W / 57.4109°N 111.6266°W / 57.4109; -111.6266
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ Provincial Highways Designation Order, Alberta Transportation, p. 9 
  2. ^ Alberta Government announcement
  3. ^ Government of Alberta - Infrastructure project
  4. ^ The Oil Sands Developers Group- Transportation Fact Sheet: October 2009.
  5. ^ Alberta Transportation- Highway 63 twinning will resume: March 2010.
  6. ^ "Highway 63 twinning fast-tracked for fall 2016 completion". Government of Alberta. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  7. ^ "Newly-twinned Highway 63 section north of Wandering River opens today". Government of Alberta. 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Highway 63 twinning update - countdown to 2016". Alberta Government. April 19, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Multi-vehicle crash on Highway 63 kills 2". CBC News. 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 

External links[edit]