White City fire chief 'ecstatic' as phase 1 of Regina bypass completed
Says fire department responding to fewer collisions since overpasses constructed
For the fire chief of the White City fire department, the overpasses completed as part of the Regina Bypass project have him feeling "ecstatic."
Randy Schultz said there were many times where his department would be called out to the scene of a collision caused by what he called "bad decisions."
"Before the construction, I couldn't tell you how many accident scenes we were on where we were using jaws of life," Schultz said on Monday, after the province announced the first phase of the project near Balgonie and Highway 33 had been completed.
"Now, I can't tell you the last time we used our jaws."
There have been numerous collisions and deaths near Pilot Butte involving vehicles crossing at Highway 624 and Highway 1. The speed limit was lowered to 90 kilometres an hour at one point in an effort to curb the number of collisions and deaths.
Schultz further expressed gratitude that the overpass will benefit his children. When they become drivers themselves, he said, they won't have to face the risks of crossing the highway at road level.
At the announcement Monday, Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit said the bypass will increase road safety and ease congestion in and around Regina.
Ongoing bypass construction
Phase 1 saw overpasses built at Balgonie, White City and Tower Road, as well as service roads in and around Balgonie and Pilot Butte.
An interchange near Pilot Butte is expected to be completed next year.
Construction for the bypass has been ongoing for more than two years. The project, when it's completed, will allow travellers to avoid driving through Regina by going around it instead.
The bypass is the biggest infrastructure project in the city and province's history, costing about $2 billion. Initial estimates pegged the project to cost around $400 million.
The remaining construction on the bypass is expected to be completed in 2019.
with files from Adam Hunter