EDMONTON -- The provincial government announced plans on Friday to twin the David Thompson Highway between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House.

The highway, also known as Highway 11, begins east of Red Deer and extends into the Rocky Mountains.

The $120-million upgrade is expected to improve traffic flow between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House, a 66-kilometre span.

"It will mean a safer commute for our youth, who will be able to stay in their home community and travel to Red Deer College for their studies," Rocky Mountain House Mayor Tammy Burke said. "It will mean safer, more efficient travel for energy and transportation services, it will make for a more direct, enjoyable drive for tourists and visitors alike."

An estimated 5,800 vehicles use Highway 11 every day, according to the province.

Premier Jason Kenney called the project an important upgrade for an often under-appreciated area of the province, known for its resource development and tourism sectors.

"There is enormous potential to expand all these economic drivers and the David Thompson Highway is the backbone to support that investment, to create those future jobs and to generate that growth that will come along with it," Kenney said.

Construction will begin in 2021 and is expected to take four years to complete. The province says the project will create more than 580 jobs.

The project is part of the Alberta's $10-billion recovery plan, announced on June 29.