Northern All-Weather Road Not a Top Priority

Friday, February 27, 2009 at 14:40



Saskatchewan’s highways minister says he doesn’t think the federal government sees the all-weather road project in the Far North as one that could be used to spur the economy.


That argument has been made by proponents who have been waiting for years for a road network that would connect the Athabasca Basin to the rest of the province year-round.


But Wayne Elhard says this project doesn’t quite fit the government’s definition of “shovel ready”.


Elhard says because the province is on its own in this, it isn’t in a position to come up with the funding as quickly as northern residents would like.


Two contracts were awarded this month to clear another 57 kilometres of brush on the proposed road to Wollaston Lake — but Elhard estimates it will be another four years before that work is finished.


He says it could get done sooner if the province can convince the federal government and industry to contribute funds — but he says the spiralling economy is making it less likely any help will come from the private sector.