Giant hole on Trans-Canada under repair

A massive hole being fixed on the Trans-Canada Highway east of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border will keep traffic off that stretch until at least Friday.

A massive hole on the Trans-Canada Highway east of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border is under repair but traffic won't be able to drive the stretch until Friday at the earliest.

Ministry of Highways officials said Monday they're working as quickly as possible to get the normally high-volume section of road open again.

The Trans-Canada, also known as Highway 1, has been closed near the Alberta border since it began flooding in the area last Friday.

For a while, after more than 100 millimetres of rain fell in a 48-hour period, about six kilometres of the highway was under water.

Since then, a chunk of the road collapsed under the water near Maple Creek, leaving a hole wider than two lanes of traffic.

Highways officials said as many as 50 trucks should be hauling gravel to rebuild the road by Tuesday.

However, even under the most optimistic scenario, the highway won't be reopened until the end of the week.

As a result, drivers heading to Alberta have a long detour ahead of them — north to Kindersley, about 150 kilometres out of the way, then west along Highway 7. Normally, about 5,000 vehicles a day travel on that section of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The heavy rains are causing problems elsewhere in Saskatchewan as well.

RCMP advised drivers heading out on Highway 2, about 14 kilometres south of Moose Jaw, to use extreme caution Monday.

Thirty centimetres of water was flowing over the highway and causing serious problems.

In the town of Maple Creek, ground zero of the flooding in the southwest on Friday, residents spent the weekend cleaning up after water poured down streets and into basements.

The high flows into the creek that government officials said caused the worst flooding they had ever seen in the area subsided on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday, many people in the town's west end — where flooding was worst — had their furniture sitting on their lawns, trying to salvage what was left of their basements after the rainwater washed through many of the houses.

Howard Wong had his bakery downtown and his home flooded.

"You could hear the water running like the river … just roaring through," Wong said. "Everyone's devastated … everything we've worked for."

Wong said he's not going to race to clean up, after hearing that even more thunderstorms are on the horizon for Monday and Tuesday.

Premier Brad Wall, who spent some time in Maple Creek on Saturday, said evidence of the water's destruction was everywhere and a monumental cleanup job lies ahead.

"There was an eight-foot root cellar beside a house that was pumping out the basement where the water was right to the top," he said.

"It's a tragedy because these aren't just houses and buildings, these are people's homes and they're filled with things that are important to memories and their lives."

Wall said provincial and federal disaster plans will kick in to provide money to people, so people should take pictures of the damage. They don't have to wait to clean up to be eligible for compensation, he said.

Some areas near Maple Creek received another 25 millimetres of rain on Monday, according to Environment Canada.