News Release - July 13, 2006
ADDITIONAL $25 MILLION FOR HIGHWAYS
The provincial government is allocating an additional $25 million to assist Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation to repair flood and moisture-related damage to the provincial highway system.
"Flooding and excessive moisture in many parts of the province, combined with the mild winter created many challenges on the provincial highway system this past spring," Highways and Transportation Minister Eldon Lautermilch said. "Our crews and our partners in the road building industry have worked hard and we've made significant progress in dealing with these challenges."
Lautermilch reported that to date, $94 million in major construction projects are underway or in contract and department crews and contractors have completed more than $27 million worth of maintenance and preservation work.
"To sustain this progress, the provincial government has approved an additional $25 million for Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation," Lautermilch said. "This will assist the department in dealing with unforeseen costs arising from the spring moisture condition and inflationary pressures."
The $25 million in new funding is in addition to the 2006-07 Highways and Transportation budget of $345 million – already the largest highways budget in the province's history. This includes a planned $133 million on 103 major highway and bridge improvements and an additional $145 million is planned on smaller highway and bridge improvements, surface maintenance and other traffic safety activities like snow and ice control, mowing, signing and pavement striping and transport compliance.
"While our crews are going to extraordinary lengths – in many cases working seven days a week – to deal with flood and moisture damage, the provincial government understands the need for a comprehensive strategy to guide development of the transportation system over the long term," Lautermilch said. "Transportation for Economic Renewal, the provincial transportation strategy will achieve this goal."
Transportation for Economic Renewal aligns the transportation system with economic activity in the province by focusing on the following key areas:
• Development of rural economic corridors;
• Investing in northern economic infrastructure;
• Partnering with cities on developing urban connectors to the provincial transportation system;
• Continued development of short line railways; and
• Responsible stewardship of the system.
Significant progress is already being made on advancing the goals of the strategy. Last fall, the province committed $65.5 million to the Northern Economic Infrastructure Strategy. On July 1st, 1,200 km of highways were added to the primary weight system, resulting in trucking efficiencies expected to generate $18 million per year in direct economic benefits.
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