Saskatchewan

Install traffic lights east of Regina now, NDP says

The Saskatchewan New Democrats have renewed their call to put the brakes on the Regina bypass — saying the $1.9 billion project is too expensive and doesn't fix safety concerns quickly enough.

NDP wants urgent meeting to revamp provincial government's $1.9B bypass plan

The Saskatchewan New Democrats have renewed calls to put the brakes on the Regina bypass — saying the $1.9 billion project is too expensive and doesn't fix safety concerns quickly enough.

It says a series of traffic lights should be installed as soon as possible along the Trans-Canada Highway east of Regina to make driving safer.

The government, however, maintains the delays the NDP is proposing would only add to the costs and would make highways near the city more dangerous, not less.

The bypass, which will cost $1.88 billion, is scheduled to begin construction this year and be completed by 2019.

It will allow cars and trucks on Highway 11 and the Trans-Canada Highway to get past Regina without having to go through the heart of the city.

It's also designed to improve safety east of the city near Balgonie, an area that has been plagued by deadly crashes in recent years.

The NDP says projected costs have escalated from an original $400 million to the current $1.88 billion. It wants an urgent meeting with the provincial government to discuss an alternative plan.

The New Democrat plan would include: 

  • Traffic lights installed at key intersections on the Trans-Canada (also known as Highway 1) east of Regina.
  • Hiring local firms to immediately begin construction on the planned overpasses for that stretch of highway.
  • While the underpass construction is underway, a full review of potential bypass routes in order to choose the best alternative.

In response, a statement from the Premier's office Monday said the cost of what the NDP is proposing would be more than $1 billion and would add two years. 

It says the interchanges that will improve safety in the Balgonie and White City areas will be completed in 2017, not 2019.

The Premier's office also said the mayor of Regina, White City, Balgonie and Pilot Butte; as well as the leaders from the RMs of Edenwold and Sherwood, all agree with bypass plan as is.

Finally, traffic lights will make the highway less safe, not more, due to more rear-end collisions, the statement said.

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