© Herald file photo
A truck passes over the Diefenbaker Bridge.
A significant volume of makes its way through Highway 2 north of Prince Albert, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure Joel Cherry summarized.
âWe recognize that is a high-traffic area and we do keep tabs on it and we have safety assessments there every few years,â he said.
âIt includes traffic counts where someone will actually watch traffic for 12 hours and count how many cars drive by.
âWe measure qualitatively the traffic flow -- if traffic seems to be moving smoothly.â
The Daily Herald contacted Cherry prior to Thursdayâs Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan question period criticism of the highwayâs conditions.
Although the highway is twinned up to a few kilometres north of the Diefenbaker Bridge, it quickly narrows into two-lane highway traffic, at which point an average of 5,980 vehicles are estimated to travel per day.
After Christopher Lake, daily traffic counts on Highway 2 dwindle to about 1,430 and drop even further to about 700 prior to reaching La Ronge.
ÂBy comparison, the freshly twinned section of Highway 11 has an average daily traffic volume of 5,320 prior to reaching Highway 2 south of Prince Albert.
There is at least one concern along Highway 2 north of Prince Albert, Cherry said, citing a sometimes confusing turning lane that leads traffic into the One Stop Convenience Store.
With the store accessible via an access road, the province is considering the removal of the troubled turning lane. The province has yet to set a timeline for this effort.
Other than that, Cherry said that he doesnât have much to report.
âWe realize that trafficâs increasing across the province because populationâs growing and the economyâs growing, and weâre always looking for future potential targets for twinning, but at this time thereâs no specific plan to twin Highway 2 north of Prince Albert,â he concluded.
We recognize that is a high-traffic area and we do keep tabs on it and we have safety assessments there every few years. Joel Cherry
âWe have to prioritize and we canât do everything at once all the time, because we have limited resources.â
The provincial government manages about 26,000 kilometres of highway, Cherry said. With an additional 180,000 kilometres in municipal roads tacked onto that, Saskatchewan has the most road surface, per capita, of any province.
During Thursdayâs question period, opposition MLA Buckley Belanger raised concerns about Highway 2, with Highways and Infrastructure minister Don McMorris responding.
âCommunity members are saying traffic on No. 2 north is too heavy, turning is hazardous and itâs getting dangerous to share the road with speeding semis on a stretch of highway with so few turning lanes and shoulders,â Belanger said.
The Saskatchewan NDP MLA also raised the issue of the Red Wing area intersection.
Citing a record expenditure of $664.5 million on highways, McMorris noted that the province is continuing âto evaluate all highways across this province to see how we can make improvements, whether itâs on the surface or whether itâs engineering, to make sure intersections are safer.â