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Monday, August 26, 2013 

Saskatchewan's Deadly Highway 39 Needs Brad Wall's Attention NOW!

"Of the 61 total fatal collisions in the last 25 years, 34 were head-on crashes."
Regina Leader-Post

Anyone who has driven across Saskatchewan's portion of the Trans-Canada Highway, knows that it's pretty flat and open out here.

Just south of Regina, Highway #39 (and merging #6) contains one of the most open highway stretches anywhere in Canada. It is a single lane section and it is extremely dangerous. The statistics prove this beyond any doubt.

In winter, the wind polishes the surface to something resembling glass. In summer, strong prairie winds put increased force on vehicles and a drivers ability to hold a vehicle in the correct driving lane. God help you if the road is wet and the wind is blowing!

Saskatchewan's Department of Highways recently made a completely idiotic statement when questioned about the possibility of twinning this dangerous section of highway. The Department's curt reply was that their research 'does not show that there is sufficient 'traffic' on this stretch' to justify twinning!

What they dodge around is the fact  that the volume of traffic on this highway of death is not the issue! The danger is that this highway is so completely open to the elements - wind and ice - that it is perilous to those who use it..

In a province that touts its prosperity and affluence, Premier Brad Wall has a responsibility to try an wring a little bit more out of the huge resource companies who pay minimum royalties to the province on the vast wealth that they rake in from Saskatchewan's natural resources.

There is no reason for this carnage to continue. Fix it!

When the K2 potash mine near Esterhazy accidentally punched through the Dawson Bay formation and began to flood, IMC Kalium was able to maintain good profitability even though they eventually had the added expense of pumping millions of liters of water a day to maintain operations or risk losing both K2 and the connected K1 mines. Also that even when a conventional mine floods, as did Patience Lake, it is even profitable when the expense of converting to a solution mine is factored in. Potash has historically been one of Saskatchewan's most profitable resources and would remain so even with increased resource royalties.

And along with taking a wee bit more from Saskatchewan's very wealthy resource sector for provincial highways, perhaps a little more could go to municipalities for their road maintenance. On my last jaunt out east to Saskatoon this past July I was astounded by how poorly the roads are being kept. When I lived there they were just starting to deteriorate (about the same time as the River Landing and South Bridge projects commenced.. hint hint Mayor Atch) but this past visit I was hard-pressed to find any stretch of street that didn't have potholes. Forget residential areas, main drags like Cumberland, Victoria, Main Street, and Lorne Avenue were becoming hazardous to my axles. I am not sure where the blame should go but certainly the province could help more than they are!

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