New interchange opens in Paqtnkek



A new interchange on Highway 104 will provide safe access to and create economic opportunities for the Paqtnkek First Nation, Antigonish County.

Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines and Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Secretary to the federal minister of Infrastructure and Communities François-Philippe Champagne, on behalf of the minister, officially opened the Highway 104 Paqtnkek interchange on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

"This interchange will provide 100-series highway access to First Nations' lands that were severed during the construction of Highway 104 in the 1960s," said Mr. Hines. "Along with improving safety, the new interchange will create economic opportunities by providing access to the land for residential expansion and commercial development."

The new diamond-shaped interchange includes new north and south connector roads and a highway underpass.

"In collaboration with our partners, we are building modern infrastructure that will help our communities grow and prosper," said Mr. Mendicino. "That is why I'm proud to celebrate the completion of the Highway 104 Paqtnkek interchange. This new roadway will improve safety and traveler mobility, create increased economic opportunities for the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation, and allow our residents to spend less time on the road and more time with their families."

"Modern and efficient roadways encourage economic growth, connect communities, and create good paying, middle class jobs," said Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso. "The opening of the Paqtnkek interchange marks the beginning of an exciting future for this community and the people of Antigonish County, bringing new jobs, businesses and tourists to our region. Thank you Chief Paul Prosper for your leadership on this very important project."

The interchange is a $15.3 million project with a $8.9 million contribution from the province and $6.4 million from the federal government's Building Canada Fund - Major Infrastructure Component.

"The new interchange and access roads address a long-term access and safety issue that will bring lasting economic prosperity to Paqtnkek and surrounding communities," said Paul Prosper, chief of Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation. "There are many who made this possible. It is evidence of productive, successful partnerships with the federal and provincial governments."