Transportation and Works
June 27, 2007
Government Invests $15 Million for Hard-Surfacing of Trans Labrador Highway
The Williams Government is moving forward with a commitment to begin hard-surfacing of Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway this summer.
The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, confirmed today that the province will invest $15 million this year to proceed with the first phase of hard-surfacing of the Trans Labrador Highway. The Premier was joined at the news conference by the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs; Jim Baker, MHA for Labrador West; His Worship Jim Farrell, Mayor of Wabush; and His Worship Graham Letto, Mayor of Labrador City.
"The Trans Labrador Highway is a priority for this government and today we are honouring our commitment to the people of Labrador to proceed with hard-surfacing," said Premier Williams. "Our government has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the economic and social development of Labrador. In addition to enhancing trade and other economic opportunities, improvements to this highway over the next five years will create approximately 2,000 person years of employment."
This initial phase of the project will focus on widening the road base on sections of the Trans Labrador Highway by approximately three metres. The Premier announced that three separate tenders have been issued � one for widening approximately 50 kilometres in Labrador West, another for widening approximately 50 kilometres in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and the third for widening and hard-surfacing approximately eight kilometres in Churchill Falls.
The Provincial Government eventually plans to hard-surface the entire Trans Labrador Highway from Labrador City-Wabush to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and expects the federal government to cost-share the $100 million, five-year project.
Minister Hickey said today�s announcement is a historic one for Labradorians. "For years I was told a highway across Labrador was a pipe-dream," said Minister Hickey. "Then I was told it would always be a dirt road. But today, this government has embarked on hard-surfacing of this highway which, when completed, will change the face of Labrador forever. Our recently released Northern Strategic Plan is evidence of our government�s commitment to Labrador, with funding of more than $250 million over the next five years to support the goals outlined in the plan. Today, we fulfill an important component of that plan. While we continue to await funding from the federal government to cost-share this project 50-50, the province will move forward with our portion and we will continue to aggressively lobby Ottawa for their portion."
Mr. Baker said Labradorians have been rewarded for their patience. "People in my district and all Labradorians have been waiting for hard-surfacing to begin for a long time," said Mr. Baker. "Well, today our ship has come in and we are moving forward with this exciting project."
Mayor Farrell applauded the Provincial Government�s decision to commence the hard-surfacing process. "Hard-surfacing will lead to increased traffic on the highway and an improved Trans Labrador Highway will open up Labrador to the world," said Mayor Farrell.
Mayor Letto said today�s announcement further solidifies the Williams Government�s commitment to Labrador and specifically the local tourism industry. "Hard-surfacing will greatly enhance tourism," said Mayor Letto. "Tourists have been complaining about the dirt road and it�s great to see the Provincial Government is doing something about it."
Mayor Leo Abbass of Happy Valley-Goose Bay said residents of his town are happy to hear hard-surfacing will happen in their area. "The Provincial Government is doing a lot of great things in Labrador," said Mayor Abbass. "Hard-surfacing will encourage more trucking on the highway which will reduce the cost, and increase the variety, of goods coming into Labrador. Hard-surfacing will also make the road safer, as it will cut down on swirling dust on the highway."
In addition to the funding announced today, the Provincial Government will invest $17 million for construction of Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway and approximately $5 million from the Provincial Roads Improvement Program in Labrador this summer.
The federal government had pledged to cost-share funding of the project for the past two summers but does not have funds in place to begin work this construction season.
2007 06 27 10:30 a.m.
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