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Transportation Information for Newcomers

Wood Buffalo is a large region in the Northeastern part of Alberta. Most residents live in Fort McMurray, which is the urban service area for the region, and many of them travel to work in the oil sands sites located north and south of Fort McMurray.

Travel by Road


Wood Buffalo's "WOOSH" public transit system serves the neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray as well as some rural communities. Most routes run every 15 or 30 minutes on week days. Evenings, weekends and holidays run on less frequent schedules, and some statutory holidays have no service. School buses bring children to and from elementary and secondary schools. There are bus companies that provide service to smaller communities in Wood Buffalo, and to Edmonton and Calgary. Charter bus services move workers to and from some mining and construction job sites.

Highway 63 is the main road connecting Fort McMurray to the oil sands and to other main centres across the province. It is a very busy highway and the only major road in and out of Fort McMurray. Much of the highway south of Fort McMurray is one lane each way, but Alberta Transportation is in the process of twinning it. It is important to be very cautious while driving on the highway during times of severe weather.

In recent years, new and improved bridges that have been constructed across the Athabasca River have greatly improved the flow of traffic from downtown Fort McMurray to the neighbourhoods of Thickwood and Timberlea, and the oil sands mining sites further north. Highway overpasses have replaced most traffic lights and have significantly alleviated rush hour traffic.

The community of Fort Chipewyan is accessible by air, or by water in the summer and "winter road" in the winter months.

Travel by Air


The Fort McMurray International Airport is the 15th busiest airport in Canada, with a record 1.3 million passengers in 2014. The airport offers seasonal flights to some international destinations, and direct flights to domestic destinations such as Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Kelowna. Fort Chipewyan also has a regional airport with flights to and from Fort McMurray.

Distance to Other Communities

Fort McMurray is:

  • 439 km (273 miles) north of Edmonton.
  • 733 km (455 miles) north of Calgary
  • 280 km (175 miles) south of Fort Chipewyan
  • 483 km (300 miles) south of the Northwest Territories
  • 87 km (54 miles) west of the Saskatchewan border.

Wildfire Rebuild  [Learn more]

Winter Maintenance Zones are relaxed [Learn more]