The provincial government has announced plans to complete work to twin Highway 43 with the partnership of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.

The province signed a $78 million contract with Petrowest Construction LP on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

The construction is part of a partnership with the government and the First Nation for the construction of new highway lanes, new pedestrian underpasses, and bridges and culverts over Goose Creek and Pelican Creek through the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, located west of Valleyview.

Construction is expected to begin in February.

Alberta’s Minister of Transportation said work on the project began in the 1990s.

“Partnering with the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation and Petrowest Construction LP on this project provides good value for the money, builds economic opportunities for First Nation members during and after construction, and delivers on a promise for residents of northwestern Alberta to complete this twinning work,” Minister Ric McIver said in a press release.

“We want to thank transportation ministers and regional directors, past and present, and Premier Alison Redford for providing us this enormous opportunited to complete this project,” Richard Kappo, Chief of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation said in a press release. “It’s been a long time coming, and we look forward to starting and completing the project.”

Officials said by the fall of 2014, the final 20 kilometres of highway will be completed.

When it’s done, drivers will be able to take the 432 kilometre drive on a completely twinned highway between Grande Prairie and the junction with Highway 16, just west of Edmonton.

The construction will also mean the entire stretch of the CANAMEX Trade Corridor between Grande Prairie and the Alberta-Montana border at Coutts will be twinned.