Feds, province of N.B. announce ITS highway project

OTTAWA , (Sept. 2, 2004) — Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre and Paul Robichaud, New Brunswick Minister of Transportation, have announced a Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) initiative that will fund up to14 highway weather stations as well as the creation of a National Centre for Rural ITS Research and Development.

Under the first contribution agreement, $429,100 of federal funding has been allocated for the installation of Road Weather Information Systems along the National Highway System in New Brunswick. The stations will be constructed to measure atmospheric and pavement temperatures. The data will help provincial authorities to make informed decisions on whether road treatment is necessary, the best time to apply de-icing chemicals to the road and how much to use.

Road Weather Information Systems are automated weather reporting stations with special sensors embedded in and below the road, and on nearby towers. They collect detailed data on weather conditions at and near the road surface, which can assist weather forecasters in predicting icing conditions. Road Weather Information Systems are a joint provincial, territorial, Transport Canada and Environment Canada program to provide Canadians with road weather information.

Transport Canada is concluding funding negotiations with the provinces and territories for the development of a cross-Canada Road Weather Information Systems network. The department will pay up to 50 per cent of eligible costs relating to the acquisition and installation of the system components, subject to the successful conclusion of contribution agreements with the provinces and territories, which are expected to pay the balance and the ongoing operation and maintenance costs. As a condition of funding, provinces and territories are also required to enter into a data-sharing agreement with Environment Canada.

Under the second contribution agreement, the Province of New Brunswick has established a partnership with the University of New Brunswick’s Transportation Group that will lead to the creation of a National Centre for Rural ITS Research and Development. The initial research projects are in the areas of work zone safety and rural rail safety, traveller information systems and commercial vehicle operations planning. The total cost of these projects is $613,900, with Transport Canada providing $291,400. Other partners include Maritime Road Development Corporation, International Road Dynamics, and New Brunswick Southern Railway Company Ltd.

Federal funding will be provided under the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP), a $600 million program to improve highway infrastructure across Canada.

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