Town meets with Highways over truck bypass

June 13, 2016 8:04 am
Kevin Weedmark

Members of Moosomin town council met with Saskatchewan Highways officials last week to discuss the possibility of a Highway 8 truck bypass around Moosomin.

The town met with Doug Kelly P. Eng Director of Traffic Engineering and Development, and Harold Retzlaff P.Eng. Director of Transportation Planning.

The town was informed that Saskatchewan Highways performed a study of traffic through the town of Moosomin. The study took place on April 20 between the hours of 11am – 1pm.

Locations were:
Wright Road and Highway 8
Park Avenue and Main Street
Main Street and Hwy 1

The data collected by Saskatchewan Highways indicated that out of 83 vehicles, only 28 were through traffic—through traffic meaning that they passed through two or three of the count locations listed above. Highways officials said at the meeting they found this to be a rather low percentage of through traffic. The town representatives questioned the count and requested that a more comprehensive study be conducted.

The town offered to assist with a more comprehensive count by offering staff for conducting surveys and traffic control. The survey would involve stopping traffic and asking a short group of questions about origin, destination, planned stops and duration of stop over.

Saskatchewan Highways offered three levels of implementation:
1 Full bypass
2 Alternate truck route that closely follows the future bypass alignment
3 Alternate truck route

Highways officials said at the meeting the ministry would be able to provide a “letter of endorsement” in hopes of securing funds for the project from Municipal Rural Economic Priority, which the town may be eligible for if the town and RM work together to provide a truck bypass.

The state of Highway 8 through town was also discussed. Mayor Larry Tomlinson said Highways told the town last year there may be funds to repave Highway 8—which is also Main Street—through town this year. He said at the recent meeting the town was told there isn’t funding available this year as funding under the Urban Connector Program has been allocated to large projects in Regina and Saskatoon for bypass projects and bridge construction.

Tomlinson said he is unhappy with the two-hour traffic study. “We’re not happy with that. We told them we wouldn’t accept that,” he said. “To me they didn’t get the true readings. The one we did ourselves was better than that.”

The study indicated most traffic is not bypassing Moosomin but staying in town.

“That’s what they’re saying, but we don’t believe that,” Tomlinson said. “You can’t tell me that three-quarters of the traffic that comes into town stays here. We’re not sure they set up in the proper areas either. It wasn’t a big enough survey to get what they needed.

“Originally they told us that we could partner together and they would help us and throw some money into it, but what they’re saying now is that if we just want to put a truck route around, they don’t think we need any engineering, we just need to build the road south from P&H and go down to 709. What they’re talking about for a true bypass with ramps and everything is 20 years out now.”

He said the only truck route being considered would be west of town, running between the Lake Road and the Parrish and Heimbecker terminal.

“That’s what they’re looking at,” he said. “They’re looking to the west.”

The mayor said he was unhappy after the meeting with highways officials. “They seem to be kind of skirting around the problem. I brought up the pavement on Main Street, because that is number 8, and they told us all the infrastructure money that could go to that type of project has already been gobbled up by Regina and Saskatoon, so our pavement for Main Street for this year is out. Last year they told us it would probably be done this year.”

Tomlinson said the highway issues will be raised with Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk on June 20. “We’ll raise the issues and see if he can do something for us.”