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Northern roads get financial boost in prairie province

REGINA, Sask. -- A record $21 million is being invested in northern Saskatchewan roads this year as part of NEIS - ...

REGINA, Sask. — A record $21 million is being invested in northern Saskatchewan roads this year as part of NEIS – the Province’s Northern Economic Infrastructure Strategy.

“Our commitment to northern Saskatchewan is strong as we aim to improve existing roads and build new ones to help connect northern families with the broader provincial transportation network,” Highways and Transportation Minister Buckley Belanger said. “We’re seeing a record number of partnerships under NEIS with industry and other levels of government. This is helping to boost opportunities beyond one-time construction projects.”

NEIS is one of six pillars under the province’s Transportation for Economic Advantage strategy; the 10-year, $5-billion long-term plan was designed to realign the province’s transportation network.

The goals of NEIS are to provide greater opportunities to northern residents; to trigger economic growth and expansion – particularly in resource-based industries; and to enhance social and economic connections between northern residents and those in southern regions of Saskatchewan.

Of the $21 million worth of NEIS construction this year, major projects include a number of different projects, including: the all-weather road into Wollaston Lake; the Garson Lake Road, known as the La Loche to Fort McMurray connector; and community access roads at Ile-a-la-Crosse, Patuanak, Hwy. 155, Hwy. 106, Deschambault Lake and Pelican Narrows.

While this NEIS project work is proceeding entirely with provincial money, two other NEIS initiatives are currently waiting for federal participation to proceed. They include upgrading to all-weather status the 180 km road to Stony Rapids/Black Lake, as well as constructing an 80 km access road from Stony Rapids to the south shore across from Fond du Lac.

“By improving transportation links in the North, we’re tapping into the enormous potential that exists with our natural resources,” Belanger said. “Saskatchewan is in the midst of an economic boom and the North is ready to take full advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

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