Highways surrounding Prince Albert facing washouts

Jodi Schellenberg
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With spring weather and flooding situations in communities near Prince Albert, some highways are facing structural damage.

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Motorists travelling on both Highway 55, between Choiceland and Smeaton, and Highway 3, close to Shellbrook, will be facing detours due to washouts.

“In both cases, the sinkholes were caused by culverts washing out,” said Joel Cherry, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure spokesperson. “Basically the water exceeded the capacity of the culvert to carry it, it starts to flow around it and through the ground.

“It erodes the earth around it and causes the road to collapse,” he added.

There are detours in place for both highways and signs directing the drivers where to travel.

“We are working on fixes for both of them but we don’t have timelines yet,” Cherry said.

Although washouts are not unheard of -- there was one on Highway 2, north of Prince Albert and close to La Ronge last year -- Cherry said he doesn’t yet know if they were caused by an unusually wet spring.

The detours should not add too much time onto motorists’ commutes. The Highway 3 detour directs people to head south to Blaine Lake to get around the washout. The Highway 55 detour directs motorists 3.2 kilometres on the Hansen Lake road (also known as Highway 106), travel 8.1 kilometres and then head to Highway 55 south of Snowden.

In both cases a new culvert will have to be installed, Cherry said.

“Drivers can look at the Highway Hotline for information about road closures,” Cherry said. “It is obviously popular in the winter for people to see conditions when winter weather is present but the Highway Hotline can also be used to advise drivers of road closures, construction work and things of that nature.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure

Geographic location: Shellbrook, La Ronge, Blaine Lake Hansen Lake Snowden

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