FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s capital budget for 2015-16 will invest a total of $409.5 million in bridges, highways, buildings and equipment.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Roger Melanson made the announcement today while tabling the department’s capital estimates for the upcoming fiscal year in the legislative assembly.

“These estimates reflect our government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure renewal and help move New Brunswick forward,” Melanson said. “Our investments will boost our economy in the short-term, through immediate job creation, and in the long-term through the building of strategic infrastructure resources.”

The majority of capital funding will be invested in road and bridge maintenance and building upgrades to create jobs, improve safety and produce long-term savings.

Funding for provincially-designated highways in municipalities will increase by $16.2 million for a total of $25 million, the largest amount ever invested in provincially-designated highways in municipalities. The Vehicle Management Agency will see a budget increase of $4 million to support renewal of the province’s snow plow and school bus fleet.

The capital budget for the department breaks down as follows:

  • $78.7 million for bridges;
  • $214.4 million for highways;
  • $52 million for federal/provincial cost-sharing programs;
  • $25 million for provincially-designated highways in municipalities;
  • $25.4 million for public works and infrastructure; and
  • $14 million for the Vehicle Management Agency.

“In making these investments, we are following through with our commitment to maintain our infrastructure more effectively by fully implementing the asset management system using strategic, evidenced-based decisions,” Melanson said. “Asset management is a crucial tool to help us make sound, transparent and strategic decisions, while making much-needed infrastructure improvements.”

Several highway and bridge projects will be undertaken in 2015-16 including:

  • $20 million for continued work on the Route 11 Caraquet Bypass;
  • $19.2 million to begin twinning Route 11 from Route 15 to the Shediac River;
  • $5.4 million to complete upgrades to Route 17 in the Black Book area near St. Quentin;
  • $4.5 million for improvements and upgrades to Acadie-Amirault Street in Dieppe;
  • $1.8 million for improvements and upgrades to the Hanwell Road in Fredericton;
  • $6.5 million to continue the replacement of the Kouchibouguacis River Bridge in St. Louis-de-Kent;
  • $1.5 million to replace the Benjamin River Bridge No. 1 near Charlo;
  • $6 million for Phase 2 rehabilitation of the Centennial Bridge at Miramichi;
  • $4 million for final upgrades to the Nashwaak River Bridge No. 1 in Fredericton;
  • $4 million to start upgrades to the Southwest Miramichi Bridge in Doaktown; and
  • $4 million for upgrades to the Narrows Bridge on Route 695 in Cambridge Narrows.

The capital budget includes more than $10 million for energy retrofits and renewable energy initiatives for public buildings.

“These investments in our buildings will not only reduce operating costs, but will also stimulate the economy, provide ongoing local jobs and support greening by greatly reducing emissions,” Melanson said.

He said the new Strategic Infrastructure Initiative will be utilized by the department to support several projects which support job creation, improving safety and saving tax dollars in the long term.