Regina, SK – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe got behind the wheel of a semi Monday to mark the completion of a four-year project to construct a bypass to move traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway around Regina.
The multibillion dollar Regina Bypass project, which the Saskatchewan government says is the largest transportation infrastructure project in the province’s history, will open to the public on Tuesday evening.
It has 12 interchanges, 33 bridges and 60 kilometres of four-lane highway.
At a ceremony Monday where the premier drove a rig on the new road, Moe said it’s a massive investment that will boost the transportation of goods, reduce traffic congestion on the highways, and improve driver safety.
The government estimates there will be $2- to $3 million in annual cost savings from property damage, injuries and fatalities thanks to the bypass.
Among the special guests at the ceremony was Wanda Campbell, whose 17-year-old son, Lane Antosh, died in a crash in August 2013 when he tried to cross the Trans-Canada Highway and his vehicle was T-boned by a semi.
“For these communities, it is truly about safety, and for me personally, I never wanted another parent to hear those words, ‘Your child has been killed in a fatal collision along the Number 1 Highway,'”Campbell said.
The Saskatchewan NDP, however, notes the project cost more than the Saskatchewan Party government anticipated and says the province paid more than it needed to by hiring a French contracting company.
“Should we really celebrate the fact that the Sask Party paid a French company to build the most expensive stretch of flat road in Canadian history?” Cathy Sproule, the NDP’s critic for the Regina Bypass, asked in a news release.
White City fire chief Randy Schulz called it a glorious day, noting that since an earlier section of the bypass opened, his department just east of Regina hasn’t used its Jaws of Life.
“Those accidents where somebody made a bad decision, those are gone, because we don’t allow people to engage at intersections anymore and we spin them through the bypass,” he said.