July 3, 2014 8:02 pm

Sask. highway closures cause headaches

REGINA – It’s been a hectic few days for drivers in south east Saskatchewan – full of detours.

“Number nine, sent me down to 13, across 13, to 39, up to six,” recalled a truck driver about his trip.

Drivers were left pulling out their maps when flood waters peaked, closing as many as 20 highways in the province.

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association said the closures were a major cost to the industry.

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“Extra hours people are working, extra miles you have to pay drivers for,” said Nicole Sinclair, who works in the STA’s membership liaison services. “Plus, if you’re hauling food or livestock, there’s only so long those things can be in a truck.”

It’ll be a much larger bill for the province.

The highways ministry is still trying to get a handle on just how badly flooding has damaged roads.

Even the highways that are still passable could end up seeing erosion of side slopes.

“The worst roads in the region, what we’re seeing is significant damage to bridges, washouts where culverts have failed, and then extensive washouts of roads,” said Doug Wakabayashi, a ministry spokesperson.

Wakabayashi says the province is still trying to tally up how costly the work will be.

For the short term most repairs will be temporary, with long-term solutions to still be worked out.

“When highways start to re-open, motorists can expect soft spots and areas where reduced speeds are required,” Wakabayashi said.

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