In the midst of a trade war between Canada and the United States, the federal and provincial governments are spending a combined $109.1 million dollars to improve trade corridors in the province.
“Looking at the challenges ahead, and that includes dealing with our restless and unpredictable neighbour to the south, we believe the best policy for Canada is not retrenchment or austerity but smarter investments to drive greater economic growth,” Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale said.
The funding is part of a new National Trade Corridors Fund that will see two billion dollars invested over the next 11 years across the country.
The project will build 16 sets of passing lanes on highways 6 and 39 between Regina and the U.S. border. They’ll also twin short segments of the highway south of Regina, north of Milestone and south of Weyburn.
This is all in addition to rebuilding approximately 51 kilometers of pavement and improving various highways entrances and exits along the corridor.
“It will improve the flow of highway traffic, enhance safety congestion, travel times and of course enlarging trade,” Goodale said.
The two highways are vital to the economy. Every year around 100,000 trucks carry 6 billion dollars worth of goods across the border and with an increase in traffic, safety has been a concern for a number of years. There’s been talk of twinning the highways for more than four years now.
“If we were to look at full twining we’d be years down the road. This way we can turn them on as they’re being completed,” Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, David Marit said. “This passing lane project demonstrates the provincial governments commitment to investing in needed infrastructure to improve safety and efficiency in our highway system.”
The project is also expected to have a significant economic and employment benefits by creating around 1,200 jobs during construction.
Construction will get underway this summer and the entire project is expected to be complete by 2023.