A new $40-million correctional centre is set to open in six months, replacing the overcrowded Moncton jail, according to Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors.

The Southeast Regional Correctional Centre is under construction near Shediac and is set to replace the Moncton Detention Centre, which was converted from a police station to a jail in 1979.

Trevors said the new detention centre is expected to open on time near the end of 2011 and is keeping to its $40-million budget.

"The last report I have, we're currently on time and on budget, that's a key phrase today. The facility should be ready, I feel, probably in December placing offenders," Trevors said.

The $40-million facility will be able to hold 180 inmates and is much larger than the facility it is replacing.

When the plans were unveiled in 2009, the provincial government indicated the centre would be 8,156-square-metres compared to the 1,672-square-metre facility.

"There's a need for it, there's no question about it," Trevors said.

The new facility will include three sections with 30 cells in each, and it will be located on a 24-hectare property in Shediac that the province bought for $112,500.

There was criticism when the announcement was made that the detention centre was too far away from the new Moncton courthouse. The detention centre is 25 kilometres away from Moncton.

"That facility was you know about 60 per cent constructed by the time I came on site here as minister and you know the site seems to be fine," Trevors said.

Trevors said the new facility will feature modern safety features but he won't reveal what they are for security reasons.