DAWSON CREEK – The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is investing $48 million this year to improve highways and keep roads in the South Peace safe and efficient, Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said today.

Underway soon is a $17-million project in the Tower Lakes area where 4.4 kilometres of Highway 97 will be widened to four lanes and will include intersection improvements and lighting. A contract worth $11.7 million has been awarded to Brocor Construction Ltd. of Dawson Creek.

As well, work continues on the widening at the base of South Taylor Hill on Highway 97. The $26-million project, expected to be completed this fall, involves four-laning two kilometres of Highway 97, one kilometre south of Taylor. It will also include intersection improvements and a new truck chain-up area.

The South Taylor Hill project is jointly funded by the governments of B.C. and Canada and is being completed by Jacob Bros. Construction Ltd.

Highway 97 is the province’s primary north-south route and is integral to the transport of goods and services.

“These improvements near Taylor will increase capacity, mobility and reliability along this corridor and make travel safer and more efficient for residents, tourists and commercial traffic,” Bernier said. “The projects will support economic growth in the natural gas, forestry and agricultural sectors in the region.”

“Our government is committed to the Peace region as it truly is B.C.’s economic engine, thanks to the wealth of natural resources found here – natural gas, mining, forestry and agricultural products to name a few,” Bernier said.

“These improvements are a benefit to the entire northeast region of the province,” Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm said. “All of these projects in the North help grow the economy and support expanding resource sectors, including the oil and gas industry and LNG development. North Peace residents and industry travel on these sections of road almost every time they head south.”

These projects are part of B.C. on the Move, the provincial government’s 10-year plan for the improvement of the province’s transportation network.

Over the next three years, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will invest almost $2.5 billion to improve British Columbia’s transportation network.