February 20, 2010
FEATURE | Roadbuilding & Surveying
New connector opens up opportunities in Northern British Columbia
A road improvement project in north central British Columbia is designed to diversify the economies of two forestry dependent communities and improve access to a major mine development.
The provincial and federal governments are jointly underwriting an estimated $10.75 million project to double lane about 70 kilometres of an existing forestry road between Mackenzie and Fort St. James.
At least three new bridges will also be required.
Both Mackenzie and Fort St. James have been hard hit by the protracted downturn in the forest industry and the resulting lay-offs from mill closures.
“By investing in important infrastructure projects like this one, the Government of Canada is helping stimulate local economies now and securing new opportunities for the future,” said Jay Hill, MP for Prince George-Peace River.
The upgraded link between the two communities is predicted to help the movement of wood fibre for lumber manufacture, value added wood products and conversion to bioenergy.
The project will benefit the future development of the Mt. Milligan mining project by Terrane Metals.
The gold-copper open pit mining complex site is 96 kilometres west of Mackenzie and 92 kilometres north of Fort St. James.
The mine project will cost $917 million to deliver and has an anticipated life of 22 years.
The company predicts the construction work force for the mine will peak at 700 people.
Terrane Metal’s project has received environmental approval from the provincial government and is awaiting the federal government’s assessment along with other regulatory requirements.
Another jointly funded major highway project is on Prince George’s wish list. It involves construction of a two lane, paved arterial road between Highways 16 and 97 and servicing a proposed cargo and logistics park adjacent to the Prince George Airport.
The 6.6 kilometre highway, to be completed by March 2011, is estimated to cost $28 million.
The proposed funding formula provides $7.5 million from each of the federal and provincial governments and $13 million shared by the City of Prince George and an as yet unnamed developer of the logistics park.
The first phase of the park, adjacent to a recently lengthened runway built to accommodate large cargo jet aircraft, occupied 45 hectares of sub-divided light industrial lots designed for businesses servicing the transportation sector. The first intercontinental aircraft to use the new expanded runway touched down for refueling in November. The Boeing 747 cargo plane was en route from Shanghai, China to Caracas, Venezuela.
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