HAPPY VALLEY—GOOSE BAY, N.L. — A project that began in 2009 is nearing completion. That project, the paving of the Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH), is expected to be completed by 2021.
Premier Dwight Ball was in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Monday, June 25 to announce that the 126 kilometres from Cartwright Junction to Happy Valley-Goose Bay will be widened and paved next summer.
The price tag for that work is about $64.5 million, with $32.6 million coming from the province and $31.8 million from the federal government.
Ball said there’s been 370 km of the road paved since 2016, to the tune of $170 million.
“This will leave us somewhere between 70 and 80 km of road which will need to be done,” Ball said. “So that will be the only gap from L’Anse au Clair to Lab West. We put a big focus on this, making sure that we get this completed.”
He said the highway work would have numerous economic benefits, from mining to tourism. He said it supplements the request for proposals for a new ferry for the Strait of Belle Isle and for the north coast of Labrador.
The Premier said Labrador has a lot to offer and this gives people an opportunity to see that, whether it be the Red Bay historic site or the Torngat Mountains.
“It gives an opportunity for people who want a unique experience,” he said. “People all around the world are looking for places and reasons to explore, but you still need convenience and a good transportation network.”
Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker was also in town for the announcement. He’s glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“If you look at the province as a whole it was the last main highway link that wasn’t suitable for today’s environment and now we’re finally getting to appoint where the Trans-Labrador Highway is going to be completed,” he said.
Crocker said the project has been a priority for his department and getting the federal government to change its funding criteria has been integral in moving forward.
Traffic counts was a restriction that the federal government had for funding, he said, which has now been changed. Previously the federal government wouldn’t help with roadwork funding unless there were 10,000 cars a day on a road, but that’s been reduced to 1,000.
“That wouldn’t suit most roads in Newfoundland and Labrador in its entirety,” he said. “It’s through our relationship with Ottawa and MP (Yvonne) Jones we managed to get that changed and moved forward.”
In addition to the funding announced for the TLH, there was also $900,000 announced for upgrades to the E.J. Broomfield Arena in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and $900,000 for Hopedale sewer infrastructure upgrades.