Resurfacing is underway on a large portion of Highway 39.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure spokesperson Joel Cherry said the resurfacing portion will be from northwest of Estevan to northwest of Macoun. Asphalt has already been applied to much of the northwest-bound lane between the two communities.
Upgrades will also take place where Highway 39 intersects with Sister Roddy Road and Breeze Street in Estevan, and at the Hitchcock and Macoun access roads. Right turn lanes will be lengthened, which will improve traffic flow.
The $9 million price tag is being cost-shared by the provincial and federal governments. The federal government will contribute nearly half of the expenses through the old Building Canada Fund.
“They identified this as a priority because Highway 39 is part of the national highway system in Saskatchewan,” said Cherry. “It obviously connects to Saskatchewan's busiest border crossing at North Portal.”
Highway 39 between Estevan and Macoun averages about 3,800 vehicles per day, and there is increasing heavy truck traffic, he said.
The project is slated to be completed in late summer or early fall. Cherry is confident that there will be enough time remaining in the construction season to finish the project, but that will depend on the weather.
As for Estevan's truck route, Cherry said it has not proceeded as quickly as the ministry anticipated. Grading is three or four weeks behind schedule, thanks to wet weather in late June. It is now scheduled to be finished in late September – if the weather cooperates.
“About half of the earth has been moved and placed for the construction of the road bed,” Cherry said. “The contractor has been working in areas lately that are less wet, and working on culverts and that sort of thing. At this point, the utility lines are almost all relocated or lowered as required.”
Grading is about halfway complete, he said.