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Trans-Canada: Getting rid of the Trans-Canada's "Suicide Alley"

It's the world's longest national highway. At 7,821 kilometres, it stretches from Victoria, B.C., to St. John's, Nfld., and through every province in between. Constructed over some of the world's most treacherous terrain, it took 20 years and $1 billion to complete. The Trans-Canada Highway fulfilled a dream — to open up new regions of the country, usher in new economic prosperity and make fellow Canadians…just a car ride away.

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After years of complaints, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan finally get their wishes. In April 2001, the federal government makes half a billion dollars available for highway construction projects across Canada. On CBC Television news, Premier Bernard Lord and the prime minister announce that New Brunswick's entire section of the Trans-Canada Highway will soon be twinned. This is a small comfort for people like Barb Palmer, who lost her daughter to the highway in 1993.
• In 2002, less than half of the Trans-Canada Highway had four lanes.
• New Brunswick was not the only province that benefited from the federal government's Highway Infrastructure Program. On March 5, 2003, Chrétien announced money for upgrading and twinning the Trans-Canada, including the Yellowhead, in Saskatchewan.
• Officials estimated that the project would be completed by 2007 -- five years sooner than previously planned.

• The sections to be twinned were: 135 kilometres from the Manitoba border to Wolseley; 38 km between Tompkins and Highway 21; and 73 km of the Yellowhead Trans-Canada between North Battleford and Maidstone.
• Small-town businesses in Saskatchewan weren't happy about the announcement. They claimed that if the future highway bypassed their towns they'd go out of business. Led by lawyer Don Osman, Moosomin town officials submitted a proposal to the government that the highway be kept slow and two-laned through their town.

• In April 2002, British Columbia was promised money to twin 4.2 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway between Broderick Creek and Ford Road.
• In March 2003, a commitment to twin the 25-km Kicking Horse Pass section of the Trans-Canada between Golden and Yoho National Park was announced.
• In July 2002, $7 million was promised to Manitoba to finish twinning 12 kilometres of the Trans-Canada between Virden and Highway 83. This project, completed in 2003, leaves 30 km of highway in Manitoba still undivided.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Aug. 14, 2002
Guest(s): Jean Chrétien, Glenn Hagel, Bernard Lord, Barb Palmer
Host: Geoff Britt
Reporter: Jennifer Dagsvik
Duration: 2:16

Last updated: July 15, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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