News Release - February 19, 2008
PROVINCE APPROVES FIRST LEG OF CONSTRUCTION ON ALL-WEATHER ROAD TO WOLLASTON LAKE
Initial clearing work is set to begin on the longest new road right-of-way in Saskatchewan to link more than 1,200 residents of Wollaston Lake and the adjoining Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation with Highway 905 in the far north.
"Saskatchewan's economy is on a roll, and we're working hard to sustain that momentum by ensuring better access to northern destinations," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Wayne Elhard said. "Our goal is to make life easier for northern citizens and mining exploration and development in the region. This benefits our provincial growth and prosperity."
A $700,000 contract has been awarded to begin clearing the first 35 km of a brand new 102 km connector road, which will cut through dense bush and muskeg east of Highway 905 toward the communities of Wollaston Lake and the Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation.
"Right now, these communities must rely on a winter ice road or summer barge to move people and supplies in and out," Elhard said. "In the off season, the only other mode of transport is by plane, which can get very expensive. When this all-weather road is complete, it will provide local residents with the same opportunities for economic growth and social activities as citizens in the rest of Saskatchewan."
The contractor to begin the initial clearing work will be Points Athabasca Contracting Ltd. - a joint venture company owned 75 per cent by the Athabasca Basin Development Limited Partnership and 25 per cent by Graham Construction of Saskatoon.
"When an expression of interest was first announced last fall, the ministry was looking for a partnership company able to fully involve northerners in the construction process," Elhard said. "Points Athabasca Contracting Ltd. has strong roots in the region. I'm confident in their ability to hire and train northern workers and leave a lasting legacy for the north."
"This road will allow us to pursue our economic and recreational endeavours and enhance our quality of life as Denesuline people in Hatchet Lake," Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation Chief Rosalie Tsannie Burseth said.
Winter construction is set to get underway by the end of February. Other similar capacity-building contracts will be announced this year to clear and grade additional length on the 102 km connector. Plans are also in the works for a bridge that must be constructed at the halfway point across the Redman River.
The all-weather road will be gravel construction and built to secondary highway standards. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the 2012 construction season.
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