(Nova Scotia) Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Bill Estabrooks released the province's Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan, 2012-13 edition, on April 19.
"Our new approach to building and maintaining roads and bridges is working," Estabrooks said. "Planning projects on a year-by-year basis helps us to repair more roads in more communities while being transparent and accountable. This is due in large part to the hard work of our staff and our road building partners across the province."
"Ninety-seven per cent of the projects planned for 2011-12 have either been completed or started. The department started 11 paving projects earlier than originally planned."
The plan outlines funding, initiatives to make taxpayers' dollars go further, types of roads, how roads are prioritized and a project schedule for the next five years as well as a report on last year's projects.
In 2012-13, $363 million will be invested in Nova Scotia roads, leading to 500 kilometres of paving and over 200 kilometres of resurfacing. The investment creates thousands of jobs, allows local businesses to transport goods to market, connects Nova Scotians to vital services, employment and education and is critical for safe travel of residents and visitors.
The province carried out some of its road construction program with its in-house chip seal crew during the summer of 2011. It added competition to the industry, saved taxpayers more than $2 million while still leaving the majority of the road work to private industry.
"A new mobile asphalt plant will be in operation this summer and will focus on pavement preservation projects on trunks and routes," said Bruce Fitzner, the province's chief highway engineer.
"We will apply a single lift of asphalt now, instead of waiting until the existing pavement has totally deteriorated. That way we can improve the condition of more roads and extend the life of these roads at a fraction of the cost. That will allow us to resurface more roads in more communities and help improve the overall road system."
Since 2010 when the province introduced its first Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan, the province has invested a billion dollars to repair rural roads and keep communities strong - amounting to 1,900 kilometres of paved road and 400 kilometres of resurfaced road.
Highlights of the 2012/13 plan:
-- overview of work completed since 2010
-- how projects are funded and prioritized
-- details of 10 major construction projects on 100-series highways and trunks, with much work planned for the Cabot Trail
-- listing of more than 100 repaving projects
-- 20 new and/or refurbished bridges
The Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan is online athttp://www.gov.ns.ca/tran/highways/hwyconstruction.asp