The Nova Scotia government is committing $450 million to roadwork and current projects this year and an additional $583 million on six new major construction projects between 2025 and 2030.
Public Works Minister Kim Masland announced the province's latest five-year highway improvement plan on Friday.
The budget for building and repairing highways in 2023 is about $50 million less than the previous year.
"Inflation, I mean, obviously is something that is worrisome," Masland told reporters. "We work very closely with the road-building industry on how we can look at mitigating costs."
Labour shortages are also a concern, but she says Nova Scotia is being proactive.
"By putting out a plan in advance, it gives the road builders an opportunity to try to recruit, to try to make sure that they have the resources and to plan appropriately to make sure we're delivering the projects," Masland said.
Crews will continue to work on eight major construction projects this year with a focus on twinning portions of highways 101, 103, 104 and Highway 107's four-lane Sackville-Bedford-Burnside Connector.
The six new major construction projects are:
Highway 103, Argyle Interchange (Exit 32 and 32A).
Highway 103, twinning between Exit 6 (Hubbards) and Exit 7 (East River).
Highway 103, twinning between Exit 7 (East River) and Exit 8 (Chester).
Highway 104, twinning between Taylors Road and Paqtnkek (Antigonish County).
Highway 107, twinning from Burnside to west of Loon Lake (Halifax Regional Municipality).
Tancook ferry infrastructure development (Lunenburg County).
"We need to make sure that we have safe highways for people to travel on, and I do believe that twinning does save lives," Masland said.
The minister says the province will work with the federal government to find opportunities to share some costs.
Improving the condition of Highway 103 is a priority as the province's population increases, Masland said.
"I come from the South Shore. I see the tremendous amount of travel that people are doing across the 103. It has increased dramatically," she said. "The number of people that have that are moving into rural areas and still commuting to the city is tremendous."
The plan says it will also improve access on parts of the 100-series highways that are not being twinned by adding passing lanes, turning lanes and roundabouts.
The Nova Scotia government announced last year it was doubling its budget to repair and maintain rural and gravel roads from $11 million to $22 million.
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