News Release - September 15, 2005
NEW ROAD WILL LINK NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN TO ATHABASCA OIL SANDS
A new all-weather road between La Loche, Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray, Alberta will create new economic opportunities on both sides of the border, improve access to services and schools and create new recreational opportunities for people living in both provinces.
Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein announced construction of the $45 million La Loche Road as a joint project to celebrate both provinces' centennials.
"Transportation is the key to realizing the vast potential of both the people and resources of northern Saskatchewan," Calvert said. "In this the Centennial year for both Saskatchewan and Alberta, the time is right for our northern residents to take their rightful place in the economic and social mainstream of the province."
"The La Loche Road will give employers in the Athabasca oil sands access to a valuable new resource – the labour pool in northern Saskatchewan," Klein said. "In return, skilled workers in northern Saskatchewan will have lucrative new employment opportunities."
Alberta will invest $40 million to complete the 65-kilometre link from Highway 881, just south of Anzac, to the Saskatchewan border, including a major bridge crossing at the Christina River. Saskatchewan will upgrade the existing road (Highway 956) from the border to the junction of Highway 155, south of La Loche, at a cost of approximately $5 million.
The road is expected to take three years to complete, with construction beginning as early as 2006.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo currently operates the Alberta leg of the road as a winter road. Once work is completed, motorists will be able to use the road year-round.
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