April 5, 2007

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
  • $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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