08/03/2012 03:58 EDT | Updated 10/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia government's $3.6M mobile asphalt plant now in operation

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government's $3.6-million mobile asphalt plant is now in operation, more than a month after it was scheduled to be.

A news release from the province says crews started work today in Victoria County.

Minister of Transportation Maurice Smith says the work necessary to pave 90 kilometres of roads this year will be completed through a combination of using the mobile plant and tenders.

Last year, the government awarded a $3.6-million contract to Florida-based General Combustion Corp. to build a portable asphalt plant.

It was expected to be operational by the end of June.

The private sector and the province's opposition parties have criticized the government's plan to get back into the paving business since the decision was announced in March 2011 after an 18-year absence.

At the time, the government said it wanted to address unfair pricing and a lack of competition for project tenders in some rural areas of the province.