Groundbreaking project underway in NB

ST. GEORGE, N.B. — Construction began yesterday on the Route 1 gateway project, which is the largest financial highway undertaking in New Brunswick history.

The provincial government is investing $370 million, while the federal government is contributing $210 million through various federal-provincial highway agreements.

"As stated in the Charter for Change, the provincial government promised to complete Route 1 as a four-lane highway," said Transportation Minister Denis Landry. "Today, we are seeing this promise through. It is exciting to see the start of construction on the final 55 km of Route 1 to be twinned.

The $580-million public-private partnership was announced last June and as well as the final 55 km twinning of Route 1 between Waweig and Lepreau, the funding includes: the erection of 104 km of wildlife fencing as new twinned highway sections are completed; the reconfiguration of the Route 1/Route 7 and Route 1/Route 111 interchanges; the widening of the MacKay Highway to six lanes from four; major upgrades at the Digdeguash River, Magaguadavic River, Letang River, Pocologan River, New River and Lepreau River crossings; and the installation of new guardrail systems on a number of bridges and overpasses along the Route 1 corridor.

Under the agreement signed on April 8, Transfield Dexter Gateway Services will be responsible for the operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of 235 km between St. Stephen and River Glade, excluding the Saint John Harbour Bridge, until 2040.

Once construction is complete in 2013, the provincial government will pay an annual fee of $19.8 million, adjusted for inflation, to the company.

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