April 24, 2003
(Works, Services and Transportation)


Government remains committed to complete construction of Trans Labrador Highway

Works, Services and Transportation Minister Jim Walsh and Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Wally Andersen reiterated today governmentís commitment to build Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway. The ministers were commenting on the decision by the Department of Environment that further environmental study is required before construction can proceed on Phase III .

"Government will build Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway Ė there is no question about that. We are anxious to get this project under way; yet we also want to do it right. The completion of Phase III is a huge undertaking that will significantly change the landscape of Labrador, " said Minister Walsh. "Government has an environmental assessment process which provides for public feedback on projects like this. During the public input period last fall, requests were made to conduct detailed assessments into alternative routes. This request was agreed to after the field work season ended, so we will now, as a requirement under the environmental assessment process, carry out the additional environmental study work."

According to the Department of Environment, the additional study includes further consideration of alternative routes and the effects of the road on the proposed national park and natural resources. The Department of Works, Services and Transportation also needs to conduct further research for some of the wildlife component studies, further study on a proposed causeway and bridge on a portion of Churchill River and further work on stream crossings.

"The completion of the Trans Labrador Highway will result in significant benefits for the whole province, as well as enable Labrador to maximize economic and social benefits," said Minister Andersen. "Government, therefore, has to be prudent and ensure this major construction project meets all the necessary criteria before it proceeds."

Government is permitted to proceed with some preliminary work for Phase III, including cutting survey lines and completing the required field studies. The Department of Works, Services and Transportation will start to address the requirement for further environmental work immediately and work on survey lines will begin in June. Government intends to complete the environmental assessment process in 2003 and begin construction in spring/summer 2004.

Minister Walsh said his department will continue with other road construction projects planned for Labrador this summer. "This summer we will carry out preliminary study work into the feasibility of building a road to Williamís Harbour. Government will also spend about $4.7 million to conclude the work on Phase II of the Trans Labrador Highway, including $1.5 million to construct a bridge at Gilbert River; $1.2 million to construct a bridge at Southwest Feeder Brook; and $1.95 million to complete grading between Cartwright and Charlottetown," said Minister Walsh. He noted government will also spend $4.5 million to complete the road to Pinsentís Arm and another $500,000 to upgrade local roads in Cartwright.

Media contact:
          Lynn Evans, Works, Services and Transportation (709) 729-3015
          Bert Pomeroy, Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, (709) 896-8668

2003 04 24                                       12:20 p.m.

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