Health Minister Victor Boudreau said the addition of nine operating rooms at Moncton's Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre will help decrease long surgical wait times in the area.
Patients in Moncton have to wait longer than anywhere else in the province to get a hip or knee replacement surgery.
The new rooms are part of an expansion to the hospital's surgical wing.
"We've got a lot of people within the province migrating to the greater Moncton area, we need to make sure we have the qualified staff, the personnel to be able to work in these surgical suites," said Boudreau.
"But this is obviously a big piece of the puzzle, giving them the appropriate space and additional space they'll need to do the work."
Boudreau said the province now has a working group and surgeons from both Moncton hospitals looking at what can be done to decrease surgical wait times in the area.
Wait times for a hip replacement surgery are now 1.4 years at the Dumont, and 1.2 years at the Moncton Hospital.
For a knee replacement, patients often wait 1.5 years at the Dumont, and 2.1 years at the Moncton Hospital.
Work on inside to begin soon
The province said the tender for the third and final phase of the expansion will be awarded this month.
"Now we're done the exterior shell, so to speak, and the next phase is really starting to work on the inside of the building," said Boudreau.
So far, construction cost $21.3M, coming from the department of health's 2017-2018 budget.
The total cost for the project's three phases is estimated at $100.5M.
The province said construction will be completed by 2021, but hopes to have the operating suites ready for 2020.
"The surgical suites here at the Dumont were getting pretty old, pretty dated, so it's a matter of renewing but also adding some capacity," said Boudreau.
In addition to the operating rooms, the expansion will house a day surgery unit, intensive care unit, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Once construction is complete, Boudreau said the hospital will likely also need more staff.
"It's probably going to require more resources as well, and sometimes that takes time," he said.