March 26, 1998
(Works, Services and Transportation)
Infrastructure Development, Improved Service
Focus of WST Budget
The year ahead will be a busy and productive one
for the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, said
Minister Lloyd Matthews today following the provincial budget.
"The focus is on building our infrastructure, improving
services and increased accountability."
The minister added, "Today's budget
recognizes the importance of developing our infrastructure and
transportation systems in light of the province's overall plan
for economic development. In the year ahead we will continue to
focus on building our transportation network and improving
services to the users of those systems. We will continue to
liaise closely with industry groups and with the public to ensure
we invest our dollars wisely."
An additional $16 million in road improvement
projects was announced today. "This is in addition to $92
million in road construction already announced under the
Newfoundland Transportation Initiative and the Labrador
Transportation Initiative," said Mr. Matthews. "With
the inclusion of the provincial roads program, more than $108
million in improvement projects will take place on the province's
roads this year, making 1998/99 one of the busiest construction
seasons ever undertaken in the province." The minister added
that tenders will be called as quickly as possible to ensure an
early start date for construction.
In addition to road construction projects, some
improvements were also announced with respect to marine services.
"The Beaumont Hamel will replace the Katherine on the Bell
Island run this year while the former Prince Edward, recently
acquired from PEI, will operate on the Fogo Island/Change Islands
run," said Mr. Matthews. "Approximately $1 million has
been identified to upgrade the wharves in these communities to
better accommodate the new ferry."
In addition to these changes to marine services,
a new operator for the Labrador ferry service was named earlier
this week. Burry's Marine Division Limited will operate the
service for a two year period, with an option for a third year.
"By contracting this service to a private operator, we will
save approximately $4 million compared with the cost of running
the service in previous years. At the same time, a number of
improvements will be made to the service," said the
minister. "There will be no rate increases, some decreases,
consistent scheduling and a toll free reservation line," he
"The ferry service will be particularly
important over the next few years while the Trans Labrador
Highway is being constructed. Once the highway is complete, more
Labradorians will begin to rely more on ground transportation for
the movement of goods. We expect to have Phase I, Happy
Valley-Goose Bay to Churchill Falls, substantially completed this
year, as well as the environmental assessment for Phase II, Red
Bay to Cartwright," said Mr. Matthews.
Contact: Jill Sooley, Communications, (709)
Labrador Transportation Initiatives
A) Marine Services
In April of 1997, the province assumed
responsibility for marine services in Labrador from Marine
Atlantic as part of the Labrador Transportation Initiative; a
$350 million agreement with the Federal Government. Early in
1998, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation
called tenders for a private operator to deliver the service.
Burry's Marine Division Limited was named the successful
bidder to operate the Labrador marine services for a two year
period with an option to extend for a third year. By
contracting out this service, government projects savings of
approximately $4 million per year compared with previous
years. Improvements in the service will also be made
No rate increases for the first time
in five years.
The minimum shipment rate will be
broken down into two categories, shipments 50 kg or
less will cost $20.00 and shipments over 50 kg will
remain at $35.00.
The jockey charge for vehicles using
the Sir Robert Bond will be reduced by $10.00.
A toll free reservation number for
residents travelling on The Northern Ranger.
Consistent shipping schedules. The
Astron and The Northern Cruiser will run opposite one
another so that a freighter will be leaving
Lewisporte at least every 10 days.
A 50 per cent discount for Community
Councils moving heavy equipment, exclusively for
their own use.
The season begins with The Sir Robert
Bond making the first run from Lewisporte on June 9,
B) Trans Labrador Highway
When the Trans Labrador Highway is complete,
many Labradorians will rely more on ground transportation.
The Trans Labrador Highway is set to be
completed in three phases:
Phase I - Happy Valley-Goose Bay to
Phase II - Red Bay to Cartwright
Phase III - Happy Valley-Goose Bay to
Phase I will be substantially completed this
year. As well, the environmental assessment for Phase II
should also be complete. While the environmental assessment
is ongoing, funds have been reallocated to continue work on
Phase I. Construction on Phase II will begin in the next
fiscal year. For 1998/99, construction of the Trans Labrador
Highway will be comprised of four major projects:
Upgrading 21.6 km of Route 500, from
Churchill Falls towards Rapid Brook.
Upgrading of 32 km of Route 500, from
East Metchin River towards Churchill Falls.
Upgrading of 24.7 km of Route 500,
from Wilson River to East Metchin River.
Upgrading of 52 km of Route 500, from
Cache River to Wilson River.
1998 03 26 5:57 p.m.