The prime minister has announced federal funding for a local highway twinning project.
Justin Trudeau announced $90 million in funding to help twin the 38-kilometre stretch of Hwy. 104 between Antigonish and Sutherlands River.
The portion includes 10-kilometres of what will become a new four-lane alignment, which is due to terrain, a river and a rail line.
He said shovels could be in the ground as part of the previously announced twinning project by the summer of 2019; provincial officials, who are committing $195 million to the project, say construction could start in early 2020, with the goal to have the section twinned by 2024.
Premier Stephen McNeil says a tender for the work will be issued next week.
Trudeau acknowledged provincial and municipal government officials, and specifically, Joe MacDonald, who is an advocate for the work and the chief of the Barney’s River Volunteer Fire Department, among others in making the announcement.
He said it’s a busy stretch of highway, which plays an essential role in the economy.
“Hwy. 104 carries 15,000 vehicles (each) day, including 2,500 trucks,” he said. “(It) represents 50 per cent of all container and truck traffic destined for Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Trudeau, who was joined by Premier Stephen McNeil at East Pictou Middle School in Sutherlands River Tuesday morning, said it’s expected to reduce fatalities on that part of highway by 80 per cent.
He also attended a barbeque and meet-and-greet with Central Nova MP Sean Fraser at StFX after.