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June 22, 2006
(Transportation and Works)

Team Gushue Highway opened

Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works, and the members of Team Gushue, the 2006 Olympic Gold Medal Champions in men�s curling, officially opened the first phase of the Team Gushue Highway to motorists today.

"The section we are opening is the first phase in the construction of the Team Gushue Highway, allowing for more free-flowing movement of vehicles in this ever-increasing, high traffic area," said Minister Taylor. "The completion of the Team Gushue Highway is part of government�s ongoing commitment to improve the infrastructure and grow the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador."

This phase of the Team Gushue Highway, from the Outer Ring Road to Kenmount Road, is 2.3 kilometres in length and cost $12.8 million. When completed, the Team Gushue Highway will eventually terminate at the Heavy Tree Road (Commonwealth Avenue)-Goulds Bypass-Pitts Memorial interchange, with a total length of 9.6 kilometres. It is estimated the second phase will total $40 million and will be cost-shared between municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Some members of the St. John�s and Bally Haly junior curling programs were also on hand today for the opening ceremonies.

"Naming the highway in honour of Team Gushue was an easy decision considering the exemplary manner in which they represented the province and the country in Torino," said Minister Taylor. "Members of Team Gushue are role models for all Newfoundland and Labrador athletes and I�m sure they�ve inspired the young curlers in attendance here today."

Bob Ridgley, MHA for St. John�s North, welcomed the news of the highway opening.

"This is a great day for motorists who travel in this area," said Mr. Ridgley. "This highway will go a long way toward reducing traffic congestion in this region. I also applaud the decision by the Premier, the minister and the Cabinet to rename this highway in honour of our Olympic champions that have made us all so proud."

Formerly known as the Bifurcation Road, this section of the Team Gushue Highway was funded under the Roads for Rails Agreement. Construction of this major project began in 2001.

Government will invest $300 million in infrastructure this year, of which $171 million is earmarked for transportation infrastructure, 97 per cent of which is being spent outside the Northeast Avalon region. This is the first installment of a six-year strategy for infrastructure improvements, exceeding $2 billion that will create more than 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs.

Media contact: David Salter, Communications (709) 729-3015, 691-3577

2006 06 22                      3:05 p.m.

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