The Alberta government is promising to have Highway 63 between Grassland and Fort McMurray completely twinned by the fall of 2016.

The cost of the project is $1.1 billion. It also includes an upgrade of Highway 881, which is scheduled to take place over the next six years. 

The province decided to seek financing in order to accelerate the project, said Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver.


Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver spoke Friday at an event announcing the opening of a new twinned section of Highway 63. (CBC)

"We will go out on the capital markets and secure money to move this project forward immediately," he said. "We will ensure that the capital costs of Highway 63 are repaid over no more than 20 years, sooner if financial conditions allow."

The announcement was made Friday, the same day officials unveiled a new 36-kilometre stretch of four-lane highway north of Wandering River.

McIver said work was completed nine months ahead of schedule. The new section will be open to motorists on Monday.

The province has been under pressure to complete the twinning ever since seven people died in a horrific head-on crash in April.