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Transportation Minister Claude Williams says the 176 roads in question will be grandfathered in. (CBC)

People who live on rural roads with fewer than three homes occupied full-time will continue to receive snowplowing services, the provincial government announced on Thursday.

"We have consulted with New Brunswickers and have been able to identify efficiencies and streamline operations across the department," Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams stated in a news release

Last November, Williams announced plans to cut back on snowplowing on certain roads, starting in 2012-13. The change in service delivery was part of $4 million in cost-saving measures in an effort to reduce the province's deficit.

But the 176 roads that could have been affected will be grandfathered and keep existing service, Williams said.

"This is good news for many rural communities this coming winter," he said, adding that the more than 250 affected homeowners will be notified by registered letter.

The announcement relates only to current in-service roads with fewer than three homes occupied full-time, the minister said.

Depending on the weather, the provincial government spends between $55 million and $75 million a year on winter road maintenance, government officials have said.

The department hopes to save money through stricter monitoring of salt use.