Flood damaged Trans-Canada ready for makeover

MAPLE CREEK, Sask. — Plans to rebuild a stretch of flood-damaged highway in Saskatchewan are in place and construction is expected to begin next month.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure has developed a plan to rebuild the Trans-Canada Highway west of Maple Creek following flood damage in June.

The area was initially closed on June 19 when water began to cross the road and then damaged the highway. Restoration of two-lane service in the eastbound lanes was completed and opened to traffic on June 26. New crossovers opened to traffic on July 15 to allow for a smoother and easier transition for motorists, along with improved movement of various semi truck and trailer combinations from four-lanes to two-lanes.

"These measures restored service in about a week and were done as quickly and as safely as possible in the short term," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said. "We’re now moving into the next phase that will result in long-term repairs. Designs for these long-term repairs began immediately and were recently completed; typically, for such a project, it would take as much as a year to complete a design. The Ministry accelerated this design work due to the emergency circumstances, but kept an eye on ensuring we got the plan right."

Rebuilding of the westbound lanes is targeted to start in September and will see one new arch culvert installed that’s capable of handling a greater volume of water than the original two round culverts.

Before Highway 1 washed out, there were two round culverts under the road surface of the westbound lanes. Each of these two culverts were 3.6 metres wide and 3.6 metres high.

During the rebuilding of the westbound lanes, a single arch culvert that’s 11.8 metres wide and 4.8 metres high will be installed. This work is expected to be completed by late fall and will re-establish four-lane service for the winter.

The arch culvert will be extended in 2011 during the rebuilding of the eastbound lanes. Traffic will be diverted to the westbound lanes in 2011 to operate as two lanes to facilitate reconstruction of the eastbound lanes.

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