BOUCTOUCHE/MIRAMICHI (GNB) – The federal and provincial governments will invest $272 million to improve safety, travel and trade on Route 11.

“Businesses in Kent County, on the Miramichi, and throughout our province will be able to get their products to markets more efficiently,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “This investment will also create over 2,500 jobs for the next four years.”

“People have been talking about upgrading Route 11 for decades,” said Gallant. “By working with all partners, we are finally getting it done.”

The project involves twinning about 20 kilometres from south of the Shediac River to south of the Little Bouctouche River as well as construction of an 11-kilometre, two-lane, controlled-access bypass between Glenwood and Miramichi.

“The Government of Canada recognizes how important modern and efficient infrastructure is to growing the middle class and supporting a high standard of living,” said Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “Transforming Route 11 will allow people to spend less time on the road and more time with their families, help rural residents get the emergency services they need, and make it easier for businesses to get their goods to markets.”

LeBlanc spoke on behalf of Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

The improvements are the latest in a series of federal-provincial announcements aimed at strengthening infrastructure and creating the conditions for businesses and commerce to thrive.

The southern stretch of Route 11 has experienced rising traffic levels due to growth in the region. Route 11 is essential to travelers and trade, providing links to Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the rest of New Brunswick and the United States; and access to ports, airports and rail hubs. This construction builds on the previous phase of work that began in the summer of 2014 between Route 15 and Shediac River, which was part of a previous federal funding agreement.

Certain areas which are not currently twinned have average annual daily traffic counts which are projected to increase to as high as 10,000 vehicles per day. These are among the highest traffic counts for any comparable two-lane arterials stretches of highway in New Brunswick.

The Glenwood-Miramichi bypass will move heavy and fast-moving traffic away from residential areas. Hundreds of collisions and dozens of wildlife-vehicle collisions have unfortunately been recorded along the Glenwood-Miramichi corridor over the past decade. There have been 33 collisions and seven wildlife moose-vehicle collisions recorded along the corridor from 2013 to 2015. In addition, the southern stretch from Shediac to Little Bouctouche River experienced 60 collisions, including nine moose-vehicle collisions, in recent years.

Building a controlled-access highway will enable the installation of uninterrupted wildlife fencing that will reduce the chances of collisions.

“Your governments have made it clear today we will deliver results on making this highway safer and a better corridor for trade,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser. “These additional phases are the most urgent, but in the years ahead there will be more to follow.”

The province is committing $147.1 million to the project while the federal government is committing $125.2 million.

Construction on the Glenwood-Miramichi Route 11 bypass is expected to begin in the spring of 2018 and be completed in the fall of 2021, while the project from south of Shediac River to south of the Little Bouctouche River will commence in 2017 and be completed in late 2021.