Highway 302 repair job re-starting from square one

Tyler Clarke
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The Highway 302 culvert washout of May 5 continues to burden area residents with a 13.8 kilometre detour.


This week, more than three months in, the government is re-starting their effort from square one and abandoning their effort to bore a culvert under the highway.

“That’s not feasible given the soil and geotechnical conditions out there,” Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure spokesperson Doug Wakabayashi explained of the affected stretch of highway, west of Prince Albert.

“We’ve brought in a geotechnical engineer and done further investigation of the site and we’re just reviewing the results of the on-site evaluation with the geotechnical team today and will based on the results of the findings we’ll be developing a solution from there.”

Boring is the preferred method because it’s far less obtrusive than digging up a roadway, he explained.

There’s no timeline at this stage of the game, with a plan being developed “on the fly,” he said.

“We do understand this is an inconvenience and we’re working to get the work done as quick as we can,” Wakabayashi said.

Wakabayashi noted that the government is now looking to excavate the highway in order to install a new culvert.

Area resident Les Arcand is bolstered this week by an “I told you so” bravado.

“I’m happy they’ve finally seen the light,” he said on Tuesday, adding, that the “light was given to them a long time ago, before they started.”

I’m happy they’ve finally seen the light. Les Arcand

Fed up with the government’s handling of the Highway 302 washout, Arcand called a public meeting at the Lily Plain Co-operative Hall on July 10.

During the well-attended meeting, Arcand publicly expressed his opinion that the contractors -- Saskatoon-based Acadia Construction -- should abandon the boring effort and excavate the highway.

Arcand said that he’s been expressing this opinion before Acadia Construction arrived on-site on June 5.

Although happy to see the government finally see his way of thinking, Arcand said that he’s “disgusted” it’s taken so long.

The latest cost estimate for the project, released July 25, had the project listed at $800,000.

“All this time for nothing, and there are so many other places that need that (kind of work),” Arcand said.

This figure doesn’t even factor in the added cost to area residents who have been forced to use the 13.8 kilometre detour, nor does it factor in the gravel trucks that frequent that span of highway, Arcand said.

The area resident said that he hopes his neighbours remember the government’s “dumb ideas” when the next election comes around. 

Organizations: Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, Acadia Construction, Fed Lily Plain Co

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Saskatoon

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