News Release - May 4, 2006
2006 CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS BUILD ROADS TO PROSPERITY
Planning and construction on new roads and upgrading existing roads will take place in the 2006 construction season under Roads to Prosperity – Saskatchewan's Northern Economic Infrastructure Strategy (NEIS), announced by Premier Lorne Calvert in November 2005.
Under this plan, the Province will provide $65.5 million for an improved transportation network by building new roads, upgrading existing roads and creating employment opportunities.
Of the total $65.5 million, $30.5 million will be invested to improve and build new highways in the Athabasca Basin, commencing this year with the construction of a community access road to Wollaston Lake. Work has also begun on improvements to Highway 956 from LaLoche to the Alberta border as part of a joint Alberta-Saskatchewan initiative to link the community of La Loche to Fort McMurray.
"Residents in the far North have been isolated from the rest of the province, relying on unpredictable ice roads and expensive air travel in the winter," Highways and Transportation Minister Eldon Lautermilch said. "These all-season roads will improve access to supplies, health care, education and social and economic opportunity."
Athabasca Basin road projects in 2006:
- Clearing trees and brush from the existing right-of-way on the first 25.3 km of Saskatchewan's portion of the link to Fort McMurray began on March 20th and was completed April 6th. Highway 956 will be upgraded and widened from its junction with Highway 155 south of La Loche to the Alberta border – a total of 52 km. Grading on the first 25 km and the upgrading of existing drainage structures is anticipated to start mid-summer 2006. Grading on the remaining kilometres will be tendered late next winter for completion in the summer of 2007.
- Right-of-way clearing and location of the centre line for the new 110-km, all-season road to Wollaston Lake, which will begin at Highway 905, 82 km south of Hidden Bay and will extend north to the community of Wollaston Lake, is anticipated to begin in December 2006.
A further $35 million has been committed to upgrade existing economic corridors and community access roads throughout the North. This plan considers the priority projects identified by local Area Transportation Planning Committees.
Community access and economic corridor projects in 2006 include:
- Highway 155 - Resurfacing a total of 20 km from the Junction of Highway 965 to 20 km north;
- Highway 106 - Resurfacing a total of 10 km from 14 km to 24 km south of the Deschambault Access; and
- Highway 918 - Begin upgrades to the 92 km Patuanak Access.
"Road improvement projects will be structured to provide employment and skills training for northern residents," Lautermilch said. "We look forward to participation of northerners in varying phases of planning and construction."
Northern Affairs is assisting Highways and Transportation in this component of Roads to Prosperity to maximize the training, business and employment opportunities for northerners.
Provincial funding will result in a substantive contribution to the vision of northern economic infrastructure. The province and northern leaders will negotiate with the federal government to cost-share these projects.
In addition to projects under the NEIS, $28 million will be invested in northern Saskatchewan in 2006-07 to preserve, operate and improve highways, bridges and airports.
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