SUDBURY -- There is about to be another way to get around the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation.

On Thursday the federal government announced $ 3.6 million to build a five-kilometre bypass on the reserve.

"Instead of going through the main village of our community, we do have some traffic concerns there with the volume of traffic, the type of industrial traffic that goes through," said Chief Craig Nootchtai. "So this road will help … and I think it will be great in terms of safety of our residents here."

The project is a partnership between the federal and provincial governments, through the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream. Approximately $900,000 is expected from Queen's Park while the First Nation will contribute the rest.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre made the announcement Thursday morning in a zoom digital teleconference. He said the project reflects the federal government's goal to increase its funding share of infrastructure projects.

Increased share of funding

"The past used to be one third -- one third from the province, one third from the federal (government) and one third from either the First Nations or the municipalities," Serre said. "We heard clearly since being elected that the First Nations or the municipalities did not have that one third.

"So we worked hard as caucus members to cabinet to the government to make sure that we increased the federal participation on the infrastructure side."

The bypass is expected to help provide the nearly 350 residents a new, safe way to get around. Nootchtai said, between residential and commercial traffic, upwards of 2,000 vehicles use the main thoroughfare every day.

In addition to increased safety, Nootchtai said he expects the bypass to help its new business park prosper.

"This road connects and will now open up the business park to further lot development here in our business park," said Nootchtai. "So currently we have two lots and once this road is constructed, it will open up for the additional 19 lots that we have planned."

The project comes just weeks into Nootchtai's tenure. He said in addition to the project, he is looking forward to building existing relationships with neighbouring municipalities, as well as reaching out to all members, both on and off reserve.