Nalcor Energy will begin building roads to the site of the proposed Muskrat Falls hydro dam as early as next week.
A contract for road construction will be awarded "shortly," the company stated in a news release Friday.
Meanwhile, a contract for site clearing for the access road has already been awarded, as has a contract for snowclearing.
The clearing and road construction work is a first step in preparing for the construction of the dam at Muskrat Falls. The dam is one part of the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.
Ed Martin, president and CEO of Nalcor, has referred to the upcoming contract work as "preparatory activities."
The clearing will start next week and work in creating the road is expected to continue into the fall.
Speaking with The Telegram, Martin said nothing has changed in respect to commitments made to not beginning construction prior to sanctioning of the larger Lower Churchill project.
That said, "we've made a business decision that it's prudent to do this now," he said. "The savings potential there was enough that it warrants investment of this size at this point."
Martin said an asset like the road will be a benefit regardless of the timing of sanction.
"Starting this work now enables us to take advantage of the 2012 summer work season in Labrador, and provides the ability to move ahead with construction activities in a timely and efficient manner in the event project sanction is achieved," he said.
The contract for snowclearing has been awarded to Shukapesh Construction Ltd., while Nukum Forestry Ltd. has been awarded a contract for road work.
Both contractors are Innu companies, and Nalcor says their involvement reflects statements made within Nalcor's Impacts and Benefits Agreement with the Labrador Innu.
Nalcor was asked for the overall value of the clearing and road building work, but said it could not be made available until the contracts yet to be awarded were finalized.