Saskatchewan's highways minister says he is taking a two-pronged approach to road construction this year, with the goal of both building new roads and upgrading rural highways.
Jim Reiter's highway construction plan, unveiled on Monday, includes a pledge to start work on Highway 22 north of Regina between Earl Grey and Southey, Sask.
That stretch of highway has long been identified by motorists and politicians alike as one of the worst roads in Saskatchewan.
But Reiter said the construction work is part of a "big picture" plan.
"You know, it wasn't anything we didn't know about. It certainly didn't change anything in the schedule," Reiter said Monday.
"We need to do that safety work this year, and we'll continue with construction next year as planned."
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Reiter said the government will fund ways to accommodate increased traffic, including "the passing lane program that we've announced, the interchanges that need to be built, those sorts of things."
"On the other hand, though, we still have a huge task ahead of us," he said. "We have a lot of bad highways that have been neglected for a lot of years that need to be rebuilt."
Some roads that were damaged by flooding last year will still need work, but Reiter said that will not delay this year's project.
The province is spending more than $580 million for this year's road construction work, the second-most it has ever spent.