Government, Municipalities partner to advance highway upgrades

A $37 million partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan and the rural municipalities (RMs) of Souris Valley, Lake Alma, Surprise Valley and Laurier is leading to the upgrade of Highways 18 and 28.

As part of the agreement, the highways are being upgraded from thin membrane surface to granular-strengthened asphalt concrete, which will make them safer, smoother and last longer before repaving is needed.  

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"This $37 million investment is a great step in growing our rural infrastructure and partnerships with rural municipalities," Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said.  "I would like to thank the partnership committee for the work they have done with the ministry on this project as this will increase safety for motorists, create jobs and contribute to our province's economic recovery."

In 2020-21, the Ministry of Highways entered into six other partnerships with rural municipalities.  Partnership investments support local economies by building transportation assets that last, setting the stage for continued growth once the pandemic is behind us.  These collaborations address shared challenges and allocate limited resources more effectively, making our communities better places to live and work.

The work is being done in three phases:  

  • Phase one saw work on the Highway 35 junction to Lake Alma, which was completed in 2020;  
  • Phase two will see work on Highway 18 from Lake Alma to Highway 6, with expected completion by late fall of 2021; and  
  • Phase three will see work done on Highway 28 from Lake Alma to Radville and is expected to be completed by fall 2022.

These phases will see more than 95 kilometres of highway improved by the end of 2022.

The four RMs are all making significant financial contributions to the project and working with the ministry through the planning cycle.  The RM partners are expected to contribute $7.4 million and include in-kind contributions such as providing aggregate material and waiving haul road costs.  

"Our RMs have worked very hard to plan for this project, bring it to the ministry's attention and make it a reality," RM of Souris Valley Reeve and the partnership committee chairman Glen Walkeden said.  "This upgrade is a big expenditure for our municipalities and we appreciate the ministry's willingness to work with us to improve these highways that are so important to our region.  This highway project has not only made the municipal representatives from our four RM's more aware of what can be done by working together, but also the ratepayers realize the importance of this as well.  After eight years of working toward this goal, it's nice to know that once these three projects are completed, all people travelling on these highways will be able to do so more safely.  Emergency vehicles will have a better response time while travelling on these highways, which is very important to rural communities such as ours."

Motorists are reminded to take caution when driving in construction zones.  Please follow posted speed limits and be aware of workers present.  Drivers are also advised to consider alternate routes to reduce the impact of potential delays.

This project is part of the Government of Saskatchewan's goal to build and upgrade 10,000 km of provincial highways.  At the end of 2021, it is expected Saskatchewan will be ahead of schedule with more than 1,350 km of improvements this year, totaling 2,350 km improved by the end of December.

Since 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested more than $10.6 billion in highways infrastructure, with improvements to over 17,100 km of Saskatchewan highways.