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Winter roads construction secures $6M from province

Funds will maintain 3,170 km of roadway, connecting remote Indigenous communities

The provincial government has announced $6 million to help build and maintain 3,170 kilometres of winter roads for the 2020-2021 season.

It’s part of a three-year funding commitment to help 31 remote Indigenous communities and the Town of Moosonee connect to the provincial highway system during the winter months.

"Winter roads are a lifeline for remote communities, as they provide vital connections to all-season roads, said Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford said in a Jan. 14 news release

"By providing multi-year funding, our government is reducing the administrative burden, supporting economic development and enabling our northern communities to plan more effectively for upcoming winter roads seasons."

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Between mid-January and the spring thaw, temporary ice roads are used to bring in essential goods and services, including food, and medical and construction supplies.

They’re estimated to serve more than 21,000 people in Ontario.

Construction of the James Bay Winter Road – a 311-kilometre road that serves First Nation communities including Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moosonee – began just after Christmas.

A winter road that connects Moosonee to the Ontario highway system is not being built this season because of COVID-19 outbreak concerns.