HALIFAX — Capital spending to improve and upgrade Nova Scotia's roads, highways and bridges is expected to approach nearly $500 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Officials said Tuesday the provincial contribution to the total is about $340 million, with the remainder provided by the federal government, which shares costs of major highway projects.
Public Works Minister Kim Masland told reporters the province's five-year highway improvement plan includes more than 150 major construction and improvement projects during the fiscal year that begins April 1.
Masland said the plan includes the construction of 12 new bridges and the replacement of 18 others.
"As recent storms have reminded us, our infrastructure is facing challenges associated with climate change," she said. "All new projects are designed and constructed with climate change readiness in mind."
Masland said the plan follows through on the government's campaign promise to double spending to improve the province's gravel roads, bringing it to a total of $40 million. According to the government, there are more than 8,400 kilometres of gravel roads and they make up 35 per cent of the provincial road network.
The minister said 10 major construction projects are planned, with a focus on the ongoing twinning of highways 101, 103, 104 and 107.
Officials confirmed that the high-profile twinning of Highway 104, which is to replace a deadly stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between Sutherlands River, N.S., and Antigonish, N.S., remains on time and on budget at around $364 million. The project is to be completed by the fall of 2023, Masland said.
As well, Masland confirmed preliminary work would begin on the construction of two new rest stops near the Cobequid Pass toll plaza on Highway 104 — a project that had been announced by the previous Liberal government but was delayed until this year.
"The rest stops will be on both sides of the highway," she said. "We are working right now on the design of these structures."
The province said 565 kilometres of road were paved in the 2021-22 fiscal year and work was completed on more than 315 kilometres of gravel roads.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022.
The Canadian Press