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One thousand kilometres of highways improved this season

MLA Warren Michelson's column for the week of Sept. 25, 2019
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

Travellers who checked the Highway Hotline website map this construction season would have seen a lot of orange pylon icons indicating construction. The Government of Saskatchewan invested more than $700 million in highways this year, improving about 1,000 kilometres of provincial roadways. Much of this work has been completed but highway construction crews will continue working in the fall season. 

In our local area, the drive north on Highway 2 is now much safer and more pleasant with new passing lanes completed at the end of July. Work has been completed on Highway 202, going out to Buffalo Pound Lake, to repair damage from high water levels in past years. The road has been widened, re-surfaced, and a new culvert installed, improving safety and making it more convenient.

The Enhanced Intersection Safety Program, focused on safety and improvements to dozens of intersections across the province, was launched this year. This multi-year plan will fund intersection safety enhancements including rumble strips, clearing of sight triangles, guardrails and lighting. The intersection of Highway 1 and Kalium Road is one of these projects. Work is underway to add extended turning lanes and high-speed entrance and exit ramps.

The Ninth Avenue N.W. intersection at the TransCanada Highway remains a high priority as the Ministry of Highways continues to work with the City of Moose Jaw on an entrance design that allows for future development. Such a strategy will examine intersections into the City to provide safer entrances/exits to Highway 1.

Construction of the Regina Bypass, the largest transportation infrastructure project in Saskatchewan's history, is on schedule for completion at the end of October.

The Bypass will boost traffic safety; help with traffic flow in and around Regina; improve links to the national highway system; and increase efficiency for truckers and shippers moving goods.

This is the first transportation infrastructure project in Saskatchewan to be completed in a public-private partnership (P3). With a P3, the team that builds the bypass must maintain it in "like-new" condition for 30 years. Ernst & Young verified that the P3 method will save Saskatchewan people $380 million on this particular project. 

With harvest underway, more farm machinery and heavy trucks are moving around on Saskatchewan roads. Drivers and farmers are reminded to keep safety a top priority during harvest. Please take extra precautions when passing slow-moving farm equipment and be respectful of other drivers. Producers need to ensure lights are working and adjusted before moving equipment on highways and to regularly inspect and maintain their equipment.

If you’re planning to take advantage of beautiful Saskatchewan fall days to travel, check the Highway Hotline for information on construction, emergency road closures, the status of ferries and other road activities. Information is also available by calling 511. You can also report a highway work zone signing problem by calling 306-244-5535. Most importantly, please follow speed limit and other construction zone signs to keep our workers safe.

The Government of Saskatchewan has invested $9 billion in highways infrastructure since 2008, improving more than 14,000 kilometres of provincial highways. With improvements to our highways, and drivers being safety conscious, life will be better and safer for all the people of our province.