Highway 5 plans include passing lanes, twinning

EAST CENTRAL — Over the next six years, the provincial government will be adding new passing lanes and twinning portions of Highway 5 between Saskatoon and the intersection of Highway 2.

The project will be done in three segments, with work expected to start in the spring of 2020 and be completed by fall 2025.

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Plans were revealed by the highways ministry at a public session at the Manhattan Ballroom near Saskatoon on Aug. 13.

Steve Shaheen, a spokesperson with the highway ministry, said the session at the Manhattan and another one in St. Denis on Aug. 14 aimed to reintroduce the project to the public.

“We’re showing local residents what this project will look like and getting some feedback tonight.”

Work will begin in spring of 2020 on a 10 kilometre segment of highway between Blucher Road and Old 27 Road. Plans include adding new turning lanes, leveling out hills and valleys, and widening shoulders. The goal is to complete work by fall 2020.

The second segment, a 30 kilometre stretch that goes from the Highway 2 intersection to Blucher Road, is expected to begin spring 2021. Improvements will include passing lanes, realigning the St. Denis access, adding turning lanes, reducing the number of access points to the highway, leveling out hills and valleys, and widening shoulders. That is expected to be done by the fall of 2022.

Locations for the passing lanes are yet to be determined.

The final segment, a 10 kilometre stretch from Old 27 Road to where the highway turns into four lanes, will be twinned, with construction expected to start in spring 2023. Other improvements include adding turning lanes and reducing the number of access points to the highway. The work is expected to be complete by fall 2025.

Shaheen said the ministry is twinning that segment due to traffic volumes.

“Originally, it was thought of as a passing lane corridor, but with the number of trucks and additional counts of cars, it was determined that the best case moving forward is to twin that now.”

The spokesperson said they were starting with turning lanes and passing lanes because the ministry has found those tend to move forward quicker. They also require less land.

“We’re leaving the twinning to last because it's a little bit more complex. A little bit more land will be required for that.”

Shaheen said negotiations have begun with landowners to acquire the land needed for the improvements.

Tendering for the first segment is expected to start in the winter of 2019. In the meantime, contractor Stantec is working on a series of environmental and heritage assessments.

Shaheen said the ministry would be keeping the public up to date on the public through emails collected at the session, a website and through future public meeting if it’s deemed necessary.

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