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Increased volumes aim to bring down transportation costs in Northern Manitoba

WINNIPEG, Man. -- A new pilot project using longer vehicles to help lower the costs of bringing supplies to norther...

WINNIPEG, Man. — A new pilot project using longer vehicles to help lower the costs of bringing supplies to northern communities in Manitoba was recently unveiled by the provincial government.

The one-year pilot project on Hwy. 6 will collect data in order to study the potential benefits of using the larger-capacity trucks such as achieving lower fuel costs to haul more freight, lowering food prices for northern communities, reduction of greenhouse gases and traffic reduction on provincial roads.

The vast distance between our northern communities and southern distribution centres has always been a significant challenge in the pursuit of economic growth, said Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Ron Lemieux.

The vehicles to be used combine a semi-trailer and smaller pup trailer that exceeds current length limits on this highway. The longer trailer configurations may be up to 31.5 metres in length, which is 6.5 metres longer than normal vehicles.

The permits enhance normal safety provisions by requiring that operators use a specific route, ensure a minimum level of driver training and qualifications, restrict operations during adverse weather conditions and observe time-of-day restrictions to avoid high-traffic volumes.

We see this pilot project as an important step towards a prosperous northern economy by bringing down transportation costs in a safe and more environmentally-responsible manner, said Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Eric Robinson.

The demonstration project will also include an agreement between the province, participating carriers and the University of Manitoba Transportation Institute to assess the project and its benefits to northern Manitoba residents.

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