Nova Scotia doubles budget for improving rural and gravel roads

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Road work is done by provincial crews near Liverpool, N.S., in September 2021. The province has doubled its funding for rural and gravel road maintenance and repairs for the next 12 months. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Road work is done by provincial crews near Liverpool, N.S., in September 2021. The province has doubled its funding for rural and gravel road maintenance and repairs for the next 12 months. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotians can expect to see about as much road work this year as last year, unless they travel in rural parts of the province or they use gravel roads.

In the province's five-year highway improvement plan released Tuesday, the budgets for both rural roads and gravel roads are double what they were in 2021-2022.

Gravel roads will get $40 million worth of work this coming fiscal year. The Houston government has increased the budget for roads covered by the rural impact mitigation program from $11 million to $22 million for 2022-2023.

During the last election the PCs promised to beef up spending on rural roads and those made of gravel.

All told, the plan calls for roughly $500 million to be spent on repairing or building highways, bridges and roads over the next 12 months. That's about $30 million less than this past year.

The Nova Scotia government share is roughly $340 million, while Ottawa is kicking in $160 million.

Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Kim Masland told reporters the plan includes a mix of repair jobs and new construction.

"It's the balance of making sure that we're doing the proper maintenance for the roads that we have, which is a lot," said Masland. "I mean, 25,000 kilometres of roadway is a significant amount of maintenance, but we also need to balance it to make sure we're investing in infrastructure that's going to support the increase of people living in our province."

Brand new projects won't be announced until the government is ready to release its overall capital spending plans around budget time this spring.

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