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More cash needed to complete Trans-Labrador Hwy.

GOOSE BAY, Nfld. - It's been a long time coming, and unless the federal government sends a few bucks Newfoundland's way, it will still be a long time before the Trans-Labrador Highway is completed.The...


CUT OFF: The flow of goods across Labrador is more like a trickle compared to a busy highway scene like this one.(File photo)
CUT OFF: The flow of goods across Labrador is more like a trickle compared to a busy highway scene like this one.(File photo)

GOOSE BAY, Nfld. – It’s been a long time coming, and unless the federal government sends a few bucks Newfoundland’s way, it will still be a long time before the Trans-Labrador Highway is completed.

The province of Newfoundland has asked Ottawa to, “initiate a funding program,” to help finish the 800-km highway, which links Goose Bay, Nfld. with the communities sprinkled around Labrador West.

It made the request as part of its submission to a review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA).

The second phase of the three-stage construction of the all-weather, two-lane gravel road through the wilds of northeastern Canada will be completed this construction season, says Terry McCarthy, service coordinator for Trans-Labrador Highway.

The future of phase three, however, remains little more than a question mark.

“The (provincial) government, back in 1987, committed that it would find the funding for it, without giving a definite time frame,” explains McCarthy, “that’s basically where we stand right now.”

He notes phase two, which is on schedule, still needs another $43 million worth of work to complete.

“We’ve spent to date $140 million,” to put in 530 km, says McCarthy.

“We’re looking for approximately $100 million for phase three.”

He cautions that the route for phase three hasn’t even been scouted yet, so saying the final bill for the entire project – all three phases combined – will be in the neighborhood of $300 million is only an estimate.

Newfoundland may have an uphill battle in the fight to wrestle money for roadwork from the federal government. The CTA governs the railways, airlines, ports, seaways and navigation systems.

In other words, they handle almost every aspect of the transportation industry in Canada – except highways.

While several organizations, including the Ontario Trucking Association and the Canadian Construction Association, are pushing to see Ottawa commit to a comprehensive highway strategy, there has been no indication when, or even if, this will ever actually occur.

The review of the CTA wraps up this spring. n


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