Manitoba has committed $15 million to begin construction of the first leg of an all-weather road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux announced today.
“The Rice River road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg will see extensive construction and upgrades to provide improved access and reduced transportation costs for area residents. Manitoba continues to break all previous budget records for highway investment in the north,” said Lemieux. “With this commitment, we have increased investment in our roads and highways by 125 per cent since 1999, compared to four per cent in the 10-year period prior to 1999.”
“Building a Rupertsland highway has long been a dream shared by east side residents and our government,” said Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Eric Robinson. “This will eventually go a long way toward bringing down the cost of living on the east side while providing a critical link for sustainable economic development in areas such as ecotourism. Ultimately this could be one of the greatest tourism destinations in North America.”
Robinson also noted that today’s announcement is a result of several years of consultation and planning with First Nations communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as part of the extensive wide area planning process for this region.
Over the next five years the existing Rice River Road will be extended to Bloodvein First Nation followed by upgrading the entire 90 km route and creating the necessary bridge links. The original route was initially constructed for seasonal use only. The road is located east of Lake Winnipeg starting from PR 304 near Manigotagan extending to the Bloodvein First Nation.
The province will continue to seek federal assistance to share the costs of the construction work and has begun negotiations to undertake a cost-shared, wide-area transportation network. Further work on the all-weather road system will also include discussions with Berens River First Nation.
“Our government is committed to investing in remote and northern communities in a way that remains responsive to local needs and to the environment,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin. “This project also builds on the recently signed Wabanong Nakaygum Okimawin (WNO) accord which signifies working with east side First Nations in a spirit of mutual recognition and reconciliation to achieve the goals of the East Side Broad Area Land Use Planning Initiative.”
Other projects in the north include:
- $50.6 million for PTH 6 to pave 28 kilometres from 72 km north of Grand Rapids further north; widen 33 km from Hargrave River to Ponton; pave from 19 km south of Minago River to 23 km north of Minago River; widen and pave 29 km from Paint Lake (PR 375) to Thompson; stabilize a three-kilometre portion north of Pisew Falls; rehabilitate the structures on PTH 6 crossing at the Two Rivers Diversion, Minago River, North, Centre and South Three Rivers, William River, North Morrison Creek and South Morrison Creek;
- $36.9 million for PR 373 to apply a base and asphalt surface treatment for 19 km from south of the Muhigan River to west of the Sisiwesk Junction; grade 15 km near Minago River; grade 15 km north of the Minago River to south of the Muhigan River; grade 11 km north of the Rossville Junction to Pine Creek; apply a base and asphalt surface treatment for 20 km from north of Jenpeg to south of the Muhigan River; improve the intersection at the Rossville Junction in Norway House and apply a base and asphalt surface treatment for 29 km from north of the Rossville Junction to Sea Falls;
- $20 million for PTH 10 to improve the intersection at Big Eddy in the vicinity of The Pas; pave two km of road in The Pas from 16th Street to the Saskatchewan River; pave 17 km from PTH 39 to Cranberry Portage and widen 30 km of road from Wanless to PTH 39; replace the structure at Big Island Lake south of Flin Flon; rehabilitate the structure at PTH 10 and PR 283 at Pasquia River west of The Pas; add a new modular structure on the winter road at Gods Lake Narrows; and replace the structure at Mystic Creek east of Flin Flon; and
- $8.5 million for PR 374 to apply a base and asphalt surface treatment for 16 km south of Cross Lake; grade and then apply base and asphalt surface treatment on 6.5 km from north of PR 373 to south of the Kichi Sipi Bridge, which includes the relocation of part of the road to straighten it.
The province’s new highway renewal plan details $261.5 million for rehabilitation and replacement of bridges and structures. It also includes a commitment of $800 million over the next five years for maintenance and preservation of infrastructure and annual construction of the winter road network.
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