March 6, 2004
(Executive Council)


Premier announces a step forward for Trans-Labrador Highway (Phase III)

Premier Danny Williams today announced that the province is moving forward with construction of Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway , subject to environmental approval. Government will amend the project�s original Environmental Impact Statement in order to reposition a key section of the proposed highway along a southerly route (sometimes called "the outfitters� route") rather than a northern route running closer to the Eagle River and its cherished salmon stocks. This should allow construction to begin in 2004.

"Completing the Trans-Labrador Highway is a priority for our government because it will open up tremendous new economic development opportunities in Labrador that will return dividends to our province many times more than the original investment," said Premier Williams.

"We�ve done our homework, we�ve listened to the people most affected, and we�ve decided to abandon the northern route in favour of the southerly one. The southern route is a little longer; however, it is the right decision to ensure for the level of environmental protection the people of this province expect and deserve."

Research and stakeholder input have raised environmental and economic concerns about the northerly route. An EIS Addendum comparing the two routes is currently before the Department of Environment and Conservation. Most groups that provided input during the environmental assessment process consider the southerly route to be superior.

"There are a few easily-compiled information items outstanding for the revised Environmental Impact Statement, but no additional field work. We anticipate that selection of the southerly route will address most of the environmental concerns expressed during the assessment process to date," said the Premier. "This should clear the way for early construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway connecting Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright."

Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 690-5500.

2004 03 06                                        5:40 p.m.

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