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Construction slated for northern highways

REGINA, Sask. -- Saskatchewan's highway network will see significant improvement during the 2006 construction seaso...

REGINA, Sask. — Saskatchewan’s highway network will see significant improvement during the 2006 construction season with the implementation of Roads to Prosperity, Saskatchewan’s Northern Economic Infrastructure Strategy (NEIS).

The plan was announced in November 2005 by Premier Lorne Calvert and the province will provide $65.5 million for building new roads, upgrading existing roads and creating employment opportunities.

“Residents in the far North have been isolated from the rest of the province, relying on unpredictable ice roads and expensive air travel in the winter,” stated Highways and Transportation Minister Eldon Lautermilch. “These all-season roads will improve access to supplies, health care, education and social and economic opportunity.”

Of the total funding, $30.5 million will be invested to improve and build new highways in the Athabasca Basin, commencing this year with the construction of a community access road to Wollaston Lake. Work has already begun on improvements to Hwy. 956 from La Loche to the Alberta border as part of a joint Alberta-Saskatchewan initiative to link the community of La Loche to Fort McMurray, Alta.

A further $35 million has been committed to upgrade existing economic corridors and community access roads throughout the northern region of the prairie province.

“Road improvement projects will be structured to provide employment and skills training for northern residents,” Lautermilch said. “We look forward to participation of northerners in varying phases of planning and construction.”

Northern Affairs is assisting Highways and Transportation in this component of Roads to Prosperity to maximize the training, business and employment opportunities for northern residents.

In addition to projects under the NEIS, $28 million will be invested in northern Saskatchewan in 2006-07 to preserve, operate and improve highways, bridges and airports.

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