Clark announces funding for highways project
Phase two of the Cariboo Connector Expansion is ready to go forward, with the province set to four-lane 30 kilometres more of highway between Prince George and Cache Creek, beginning this summer.
Premier Christy Clark made the announcement during her visit to the city on Friday, stopping at the Yellowhead Road and Bridge maintenance yard on the Hart, along with several other dignitaries including Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom, following a morning that included a cabinet meeting since so many members of the Liberal caucus were in Prince George.
Clark likened the provincial government’s B.C. Jobs Plan to a body. The heart of the plan is families, the lungs is the economy and the arteries are the province’s highways.
“We know how important they are to livelihoods,” she said.
So the government has committed $200 million over the next five years for phase two of the Cariboo Connector project, part of the $700 million, also committed over the next five years, to increase capacity on provincial highways and railways.
Ensuring goods get to market and stimulating the economy will mean jobs for residents for generations, she said.
“We want them for our kids. We want them for our grand-kids. We want to have jobs for a long time,” she said.
She added this means ensuring the North is working and thriving.
“Every part of this province including my family depends on the North,” Clark said.
Prince George - Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell, formerly a professional driver, added the changes would not only help get goods to market but further improve the safety of the roads, which, he said, were challenging in the 1990s.
“This investment and previous investments make the transportation system more efficient,” he said.
Kevin Higgins, president of Yellowhead Road and Bridge, and representing the B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, said the announcement translates to 1,000 jobs during the construction stage of the project.
He agreed that the improvements will make for safer roads and easier transport of goods, leading to a thriving economy.
“Our ancestors got it, we get it and I’m pleased to say this government gets it too. B.C. is all about transportation,” he said.
The premier said the plan is to start four-laning the piece from the Old Cariboo Hwy. to Sintich Rd. this year.