Regina Bypass opponents say overpass has structural issue, province blames local soil

Those who have long criticized the Regina Bypass say there is a hole in the Tower Road overpass.

Ministry of Highways say damage not a 'safety concern,' under repair

Some critics of the Regina Bypass say an overpass near Balgonie has a hole in it. The Ministry of Highways says it is just a dip that is on the list of repairs. (CBC News)

Critics of the Regina Bypass drew attention to what they say is a hole in the Tower Road overpass on Monday.

NDP highways critic Buckley Belanger held a press conference in the area. He said a concerned citizen pointed out that there was a washout under the same overpass east of Regina.

"We're paying hundreds of millions of dollars on this bypass for the next 30 years. It is a significant amount of money. Our argument is, if you're going to pay that kind of money, then it should be a darn good project," Belanger said.

Belanger also pointed out a crack in the cement pad above the erosion.

NDP highways critic Buckley Belanger says the damage has raised concerns over the structural integrity of the overpass. (CBC News)

People in Balgonie have also voiced concerns about how the bypass project is affecting their community. Balgonie resident Jesse Edwards has called for an access road to Balgonie in the past. He said he's been denied by the Ministry of Highways due to safety concerns. 

"If safety is their number one concern, how have they allowed this to be here for three weeks without addressing it?" Edwards said, referring to the overpass damage.

Fred Antunes, deputy minister of highways and infrastructure said the issue with the overpass is a "dip," not a hole. He said it's common due to the soft soil in and around Regina.

Damage to the overpass in front of Balgonie. (CBC News)

"It's very common when you have bridges that are built around this area that once you put additional weight on top of the soil that's underneath, you do get some consolidation of the underlying materials over time and it becomes a maintenance issue that they need to go in and deal with," Antunes said.

The Ministry of Highways has alerted the Regina Bypass Partners, who were were aware of the issue and have told the province they are in process of repairing it.

"It's not a safety concern," Antunes said.

He said there were similar repairs done to the overpasses on Lewvan Drive in Regina and near Belle Plaine, west of the city.