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Saskatchewan announces $15.3 million in funding for road improvements

More than 41 municipalities and communities are set to receive provincial funding to look after their roads through the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program. Steve Silva / Global News

The province has announced another $15.3 million to continue investing in road improvement through the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program.

More than 41 municipalities and communities are set to receive funds to look after their roads amid the fourth phase of the program.

RIRG is meant to provide financial support to rural municipalities to cover costs of construction and upgrading rural infrastructure. It also helps local industries including agriculture, energy and forestry.

Read more: CAA Saskatchewan Worst Roads campaign is back another year

Ray Orb, president of Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) said they will be using the infrastructure dollars to upgrade rural roads that get high traffic and carry grain.

Farmers will see the most benefits but the forestry industry in the Northern part of the province will also see some changes, he added.

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The agricultural community will be able to get their products to the market sooner, facilitating grain movement from farm to countryside terminals. Road conditions will be better, more traffic will be allowed and less damage to vehicles as safety concerns will be addressed.

“Improving roads is important but if you don’t have a good bridge then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade the roads, these things have to be done together,” Orb said.

He added that there are more than 1,400 rural bridges in Saskatchewan, many of which are nearing the end of their lifespan and are going to need a lot more money to be rebuilt.

Read more: Saskatchewan adds $11M into growth plan surrounding rural roads, bridges

 

Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said the RIRG program has been well received over the past few years and the government is investing in infrastructure that can keep rural economies going.

“This successful program, in partnership with SARM, has improved the safety and quality of our bridges and highways in dozens of rural areas,” he said.

The province said this year’s budget will work on 1,100 kilometers of highways and has invested about $11.5 billion in highways infrastructure since 2008.

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