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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc will spend C$55 million ($54 million) building an interchange on the busy highway that runs through Alberta's oil sands region to link its current mining and upgrading operation to a new plant, it said on Tuesday.
When it is complete, Suncor will transfer ownership of the on- and off-ramps, located on Highway 63, 25 km (16 miles) north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, to the province, it said.
The project is also aimed at bolstering highway safety as Suncor builds a new oil sands upgrader, part of its C$20.6 billion Voyageur expansion project.
The road has become notoriously congested with commuters competing with trucks moving huge pieces of equipment as companies invest billions of dollars developing the vast oil sands, which represent the largest petroleum reserves outside the Middle East.
With the Voyageur expansion, the company aims to produce 550,000 barrels a day from its oil sands operations by 2012, up from an expected 350,000 at the end of this year.
The highway project is scheduled to be completed by December.
Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson