QUEEN’S PARK — The old joke about there being two seasons — winter and construction — is true today.

Provincial highway construction, a year-round project, will include underpass safety improvements between Severn Bride and Huntsville and paving on Hwy. 400 this spring, summer and fall.

On Thursday, MPP Norm Miller announced the Ontario government “is improving road safety in Parry Sound-Muskoka by repairing underpasses and culverts along Highway 11 between the Severn River and Huntsville and resurfacing Highway 400 between Highway 141 and Parry Sound.”

He said in a release that the funding is part of a $1.3-billion investment in transportation projects announced March 27 by the transportation ministry.

“We are delivering on our commitment to improve our transportation infrastructure,” said Miller. “This will create local jobs while making our highways safer for residents, visitors and tourists.”

The Ministry of Transportation is proceeding with 123 rehabilitation projects across the more than 16,900 kilometres of highway and more than 2,850 bridges Ontario manages. Here in the Northeastern region, which Parry Sound-Muskoka is part of, 32 projects are going to tender with a combined value of $291 million.

“Our work is about investing in people, in safety, and in the success of Ontario. The government’s commitment to transportation infrastructure funding supports the continued success of Ontario’s road building contractors who have strong, proven track records and close ties with local communities, as well as supporting the provincial tax base,” said Steve Smith, President of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association.

“With the announcement today, contractors are able to plan their operations, hire staff, mobilize equipment and invest in supply chains and local economies across Ontario.”

Bryan Hocking, ORBA CAO, added that their members “build virtually all of the provincial and municipal roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure across the province and the road building sector directly employs in excess of 30,000 workers at peak season.

“The announcement today helps us continue our work with the government on connecting and enhancing the productivity of communities, alleviating congestion, and enhancing the safety of everyone who uses Ontario’s transportation infrastructure.”