NEW TRANSPORTATION CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE LAUNCHED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN
|Dean Janusz Kozinski|
Prepared in collaboration with the Government of Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Party government and the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) have embarked on a partnership to position Saskatchewan as a North American leader in the application of new highway and road construction technologies.
Highways and Infrastructure Minister Wayne Elhard is in Saskatoon today to launch the development of the Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure. The Centre, to be housed on campus within the College of Engineering, will be a transportation research and training hub unique in Western Canada.
The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure will contribute up to $1 million initially toward applied research and specialized training programs through the Centre.
"During last fall's election campaign this government committed to establishing a Transportation Centre of Excellence, and in co-ordination with the University of Saskatchewan I'm very pleased that we've taken the first important step today," Elhard said. "Transportation is critical to our economy, and state-of-the-art infrastructure is essential to ensure that Saskatchewan establishes itself as a leader in this important area of development. The Centre will bring together innovators from the private sector, academia and government to develop transportation solutions that greatly benefit Saskatchewan people and the provincial economy in a significant way.
"Potential for the commercialization of new technologies holds promise for global benefits and the creation of a powerful transportation industry in the province," Elhard said. "Furthermore, part of the centre's mandate will be to establish environmentally sustainable technologies."
The Centre will have a strong focus on infrastructure management and design along with materials testing. It will serve as a "living laboratory" that will further leading edge research and train world class highway engineers in a real-world testing environment. With today's announcement, the Ministry and University will focus on developing a governance structure for the Centre that will accommodate input from other post-secondary institutions in the province, the private sector and federal and municipal governments.
"Thanks to the support of the Province of Saskatchewan, we fully expect the Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure at the U of S will become a world-leading institute for transportation infrastructure research and professional development," University's College of Engineering Dean Janusz Kozinski said. "In real terms, this means new road materials, road construction techniques including recycling, new infrastructure management options and more jobs for engineers."
Both Elhard and Kozinski noted that a number of factors make Saskatchewan an ideal location for developing and testing new road construction technologies. The province has one of the largest road networks in North America, with infrastructure ranging from high traffic urban thoroughfares to lightly travelled roads that provide access to remote communities. The province also has direct links to global supply chains that serve west coast and Great Lakes ports, and the United States. In addition, the University is home to strategic resources, such as the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron, that will advance state-of-the-art road materials research and innovative structural systems.
Key partners in the transportation sector are already expressing support for the Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure.
"Saskatchewan's growing economy will grow more roads and more jobs," Saskatchewan Trucking Association executive director Al Rosseker said. "It's refreshing to see the province and the University taking the lead on such an important component of the economy. This initiative is certainly on the right road as far as the trucking industry is concerned."
"While our harsh climate and varying terrain make Saskatchewan a challenging place to build and maintain roads, they also make the province the ideal place to develop research and apply new technology," Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association of Saskatchewan chairman Jayson Clunie said. "Saskatchewan's road builders have a proud history of innovation and we are excited about the opportunity to develop the next generation of road building and maintenance techniques right here."
For more information, contact:
Highways and Infrastructure Regina
University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon
Saskatchewan Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association
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