The province is paying less and paving more. Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, announced today, Nov. 22, that the province has saved $2.3 million since it introduced a provincial chip seal crew. In 2008-09, the province paid $91,000 per kilometre of double chip seal. In 2011, the provincial chip seal crew did the work for $46,000 per kilometre. With the one-time only start up costs included, the cost was $50,000 per kilometre. “This summer our provincial crew proved they could do the work for half the cost of what the private sector was charging us in 2009,” said Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “The province is working to provide Nova Scotians with safe roads at an affordable cost. By introducing new competition to the private sector, government is ensuring that it continues to pay half as much for chip sealing next year.” Not only is the provincial chip seal crew able to do the work for much less money, the province is also paying less for tenders. In 2008-09, the province paid $91,000 per kilometre of double chip seal. In 2011, the tender price was $40,000. “In just a partial paving season, the province managed to save $2.3 million on double chip seal,” said Mr. Estabrooks. “Imagine how much better shape our roads would be in today if we had started this 10 years ago. By paying less we are paving more.” The chip seal initiative is a three-year commitment. At the end of three years, the province will have an audit done to evaluate the program. The province is responsible for 23,000 kilometres of road. The total amount of money government has spent on Nova Scotia’s roads, highways and bridges is close to $1 billion. The chip seal work represents $2 million of the overall highway improvement budget, which is less than half a percentage point.