Alberta’s Highway 881

About Alberta’s Highway 881

Ten years ago, Highway 881 was a gravel road. It was fully paved in 2006 and today, along with Highways 40, 43 and 63, Highway 881 is one of the major routes serving Alberta’s oil sands region. It links the many rural communities in the rapidly growing Athabasca oil sands area, and the burgeoning city of Fort McMurray.

Hazards Along the Route

Traversing 482 kilometers of central-northern Alberta, Highway 881 passes through several rural communities in the heart of the Boreal Forest Region. This causes severe weather hazards and danger to drivers because of the amount of wildlife and heavy equipment that often use this route.


Although it doesn’t experience the same volume of traffic as Highways 40, 43 and 63, Highway 881 often becomes the detour during road closures or significant collisions on Highway 63 and it does see a significant amount of collisions and fatalities. Between 2006 and 2010 there were 3339 collisions on Highway 881 and Highway 63, resulting in 99 fatalities.

Driver Safety

Preparing for the road conditions and practicing safe driving habits can reduce the potential for collisions on Highway 881.