Fort McMurray Road Link Officially In The Works

Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 15:27



The Alberta government has finally agreed to build a highway that will connect northern Saskatchewan to Alberta’s oil sands capital.


Alberta Premier Ralph Klein announced this morning that his province will spend $40 million over the next three years to complete the Alberta side of the long-awaited road link from Fort McMurray to the Saskatchewan boundary near Garson Lake.


Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert pledged five million dollars to upgrade the highway that currently exists between Garson Lake and La Loche.


Northern leaders have been pinning much of their economic development hopes on the construction of this link.


Klein acknowledged at a news conference in Lloydminster this morning that the benefits to northern Saskatchewan will be enormous, especially as it relates to employment opportunities in and around Fort McMurray.


The new link will also mean residents in northwest Saskatchewan will have access to new education, health and retail services.


At the same time, the road will create new tourism opportunities in the region.


Northern Affairs Minister Buckley Belanger says no one doubted this day would eventually arrive, and adds its time for northwest residents to prepare themselves for significant change.


Calvert says he started pressing Klein on this project four years ago, but notes it’s been talked about in northern communities since the 1970s.


Construction of the new link is expected to get into full swing next year, although some preparatory work might begin this fall.