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

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 (4 mi) southwest of Radway, passing through Boyle and Fort McMurray before ending approximately 16 km (10 mi) north of its second crossing of the Athabasca River near Fort MacKay.

Highway 63 in Fort McMurray near Prairie Loop Blvd

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 north of Fort McMurray

Highway 63 has seen an increasingly high volume of traffic due to the growing oilsands industry in the Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo, included in which is the oil centre of Fort McMurray, which has led to serious transportation-related problems. Trucks carrying large equipment can cause traffic delays, since they can be large enough to occupy two traffic lanes. Until 2016, most of the highway was a two-lane undivided roadway, 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 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 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 (10 mi) of this 240 km (150 mi) corridor had been completed,[4] with another 16 km (10 mi) expected to be graded by late 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 were completed in late 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]

Rural/specialized municipality Location km mi Destinations Notes
Continues as Hwy 829 south
Thorhild County 0 0 Hwy 28 – Cold Lake, Redwater, Edmonton
Hwy 829 south – Redwater
Hwy 63 begins
54°02′14″N 113°01′33″W / 54.0372°N 113.0257°W / 54.0372; -113.0257
13 8 Hwy 18 west – Thorhild, Westlock, Barrhead
Hwy 656 east
54°09′06″N 113°01′37″W / 54.1518°N 113.0269°W / 54.1518; -113.0269
Newbrook 34 21 Hwy 661 – Rochester 54°19′33″N 112°56′23″W / 54.3259°N 112.9398°W / 54.3259; -112.9398
Athabasca County 64 40 Hwy 663 west – Colinton Alberta Highway 63.svg Hwy 663 concurrency begins
54°35′15″N 112°56′43″W / 54.5874°N 112.9453°W / 54.5874; -112.9453
Boyle 73 45 Hwy 663 east – Caslan, Hylo Hwy 663 concurrency ends
54°35′16″N 112°49′06″W / 54.5879°N 112.8183°W / 54.5879; -112.8183
74 46 Hwy 831 south – Long Lake Provincial Park, Waskatenau, Lamont 54°35′38″N 112°48′19″W / 54.5940°N 112.8052°W / 54.5940; -112.8052
89 55 Hwy 55 west – Athabasca Alberta Highway 63.svg Hwy 55 concurrency begins
54°43′58″N 112°48′16″W / 54.7329°N 112.8045°W / 54.7329; -112.8045
Grassland 103 64 1st Street W Passes through Grassland
54°49′13″N 112°41′15″W / 54.8203°N 112.6876°W / 54.8203; -112.6876
Atmore 112 70 Hwy 55 east – Lac La Biche, Cold Lake
Hwy 855 south – Smoky Lake
Hwy 63 branches north
Hwy 55 concurrency ends
54°49′05″N 112°34′28″W / 54.8181°N 112.5745°W / 54.8181; -112.5745
Wandering River 156 97 road Passes Wandering River
55°11′52″N 112°28′06″W / 55.1978°N 112.4684°W / 55.1978; -112.4684
R.M. of Wood Buffalo Mariana Lake 250 160 road Passes Mariana Lake
55°57′12″N 112°00′50″W / 55.9534°N 112.0139°W / 55.9534; -112.0139
336 209 Hwy 881 south – Anzac, Conklin, Lac La Biche 56°31′08″N 111°19′00″W / 56.519°N 111.3166°W / 56.519; -111.3166
Fort McMurray 352 219 Hwy 69 east – Airport, Saprae Creek 56°39′32″N 111°20′05″W / 56.6589°N 111.3348°W / 56.6589; -111.3348
352 219 MacKenzie Boulevard 56°40′20″N 111°21′00″W / 56.6721°N 111.3499°W / 56.6721; -111.3499
355 221 Beacon Hill Drive / Gregoire Drive 56°41′14″N 111°21′11″W / 56.6871°N 111.3531°W / 56.6871; -111.3531
357 222 Tolen Drive / King Street / Prairie Loop Boulevard Interchange
56°42′23″N 111°21′18″W / 56.7065°N 111.3550°W / 56.7065; -111.3550
358 222 Hospital Street / Abasand Drive Interchange
56°42′53″N 111°21′59″W / 56.7147°N 111.3663°W / 56.7147; -111.3663
359.4 223.3 Hardin Street Traffic signals; southbound bypass lane
56°43′26″N 111°22′57″W / 56.7240°N 111.3826°W / 56.7240; -111.3826
359.7 223.5 Main Street Interchange proposed;[10] no present access
56°43′32″N 111°23′05″W / 56.7255°N 111.3846°W / 56.7255; -111.3846
359.9 223.6 Morrison Street Traffic signals; southbound bypass lane
56°43′38″N 111°23′12″W / 56.7273°N 111.3868°W / 56.7273; -111.3868
360.4 223.9 Franklin Avenue / C.A. Knight Way Interchange
Southbound exit, northbound entrance
56°43′51″N 111°23′30″W / 56.7308°N 111.3917°W / 56.7308; -111.3917
361 224 Crosses Athabasca River
Athabasca River Bridge (northbound), Steinhauer Bridge (southbound)
Grant MacEwan Bridge (southbound Franklin Avenue exit)[11]
363 226 Thickwood Boulevard Interchange
56°44′42″N 111°24′12″W / 56.7451°N 111.4033°W / 56.7451; -111.4033
365 227 Confederation Way Interchange
56°45′34″N 111°25′04″W / 56.7595°N 111.4177°W / 56.7595; -111.4177
366 227 TaigaNova Crescent 56°46′16″N 111°25′26″W / 56.7712°N 111.4239°W / 56.7712; -111.4239
368 229 Hwy 686 west / Parsons Access Road Interchange
56°47′13″N 111°25′43″W / 56.7869°N 111.4286°W / 56.7869; -111.4286
389 242 Base Plant Road / Voyageur Road Interchange
56°58′10″N 111°29′14″W / 56.9695°N 111.4872°W / 56.9695; -111.4872
399 248 Hwy 63 U-turn Northbound U-turn after short one-way separation of lanes
57°02′16″N 111°33′23″W / 57.0379°N 111.5563°W / 57.0379; -111.5563
Fort MacKay 412 256 Fort MacKay Road 57°07′27″N 111°37′39″W / 57.1242°N 111.6274°W / 57.1242; -111.6274
413 257 Crosses Athabasca River
429 267 Hwy 63 ends 57°24′39″N 111°37′36″W / 57.4109°N 111.6266°W / 57.4109; -111.6266
Continues as winter road to Fort Chipewyan, Wood Buffalo National Park, and Fort Smith
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. 
  10. ^ Devos, P.Eng., Henry; Rebus, P.Eng., Bob; Furtado, P.Eng., Glen. "Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation" (PDF). Resolving Network Hierarchy with an Unconventional Core C/D Highway Concept, Highway 63, Fort McMurray. McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. p. 13. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Alberta opens new Fort McMurray bridge seven months early". Government of Alberta. 10 Dec 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 

External links[edit]