Rainfall delays re-opening of Highway 302

Matt Gardner
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Rainy weather over the last few weeks has delayed the re-opening of Highway 302 west of Prince Albert after its closure due to road failure.

Rainy conditions have delayed the re-opening of Highway 302 west of Prince Albert. The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure is now targeting a completion date of mid- to late July for repairs.

Where the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure previously hoped to re-open the highway by June 24, it is now targeting a completion date in mid- to late July.

“Our original targeted completion date for the repairs … was subject to weather obviously, and since then we’ve had some pretty significantly wet conditions and that’s delayed the completion date,” Ministry spokesperson Joel Cherry said.

“So far they’ve moved equipment to the site, they’ve been controlling the water -- which you have to when you’re doing this sort of work -- but it became more difficult to deal with because of all the wet weather.”

The road failure that led to the highway’s closure 14.6 kilometres west of Prince Albert was the result of a culvert that washed out after the water exceeded its capacity -- flowing around the culvert and eroding the earth beneath, which led to the collapse of the road itself.

For the contractor hired to carry out repairs, rainy conditions have caused a great deal of trouble in terms of locating the existing pipe and boring a new pipe through the embankment.

“They can’t bore the pipe through the embankment yet, but they need to put a new culvert in there,” Cherry said. “They’re going to have to wait for some drier days before they’re able to do that.”

The new steel culverts are much larger than the originals, with 60 to 70 per cent greater capacity.

While noting that the Ministry is working with the contractor to finish the repairs as soon as possible despite delays, Cherry added that the replacement culverts will help guard against the re-occurrence of similar problems.

They can’t bore the pipe through the embankment yet, but they need to put a new culvert in there. Joel Cherry

“Definitely what we’re doing there is going to be a permanent fix,” he said. “It’s going to prevent this sort of thing from happening again in the future.”

Besides Highway 302, a range of other projects near Prince Albert currently occupy the Ministry’s attention.

One is a $6.1-million project on Highway 2 north of the city that involves re-paving the road and installing new culverts.

Culvert washouts that were the source of road issues in other nearby areas, such as Mont Nebo and Snowden, have also received official attention.

With a new culvert installed on the road near Mont Nebo, which has since re-opened to traffic, the Ministry is now working at installing the new culvert near Snowden, accommodating traffic with the aid of a temporary bridge.

Meanwhile, the new St. Louis Bridge is also nearing completion.

“We’re hoping to have (the bridge) completed by the end of this construction season,” Cherry said. “So there’s a fair amount of work going on in the Prince Albert area.”

The Ministry spokesperson reminded motorists to slow down to 60 km/h on the highways when passing through areas where work is being done.

Up-to-date information on highway conditions throughout the province is available through the Highway Hotline at www.highways.gov.sk.ca/road-conditions.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure

Geographic location: Mont Nebo

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