Saskatoon road spending up sharply this year to more than $50 million

Watch above: the city details plans on how more than $50 million will be spent on roads this year

SASKATOON – The City of Saskatoon unveiled what it is calling its most aggressive program of road work to date.

More than $50 million will be spent on city roads this year, up 47 per cent from last year. The aptly titled “Building Better Roads” plan comes ahead of what is poised to be an action-packed season of road work, according to city officials.

The plan is the result of a 2013 civic satisfaction services survey. Road conditions ranked highest when it came to the most pressing issues currently facing the city.

A dedicated road levy will see more than $6.7 million spent on everything from enhanced street sweeping to the spring pothole blitz and summer pothole patching. The levy is funded by a 4.29 per cent increase in property taxes for 2014.

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“It really is an integrated strategy. The extra snow removal we did combined with favourable winter conditions – there’s going to be less potholes, less problems,” said Jeff Jorgenson, general manager of transportation and utilities for the city.

In the coming weeks, the city plans on launching online tools to keep drivers in the loop on where construction will be taking place and detours they can use.

“We’ve tendered a lot of the work on high volume roads so that it can be completed either on a 24/7 compressed schedule or else, in some circumstances when conditions allow, just at night,” said Jorgenson.

Jorgenson says more aggressive work on potholes will also begin.

“The high speed, high volume roads have to get repaired first. Those are the roads where we have a lot of people on them. Those are the roads where we have a lot of vehicles on them and people are typically driving a little faster,” he explained.

Maria Iula works on 52nd Street, just off of Millar Avenue where several large potholes have developed, but what frightens her most are the two gaping sinkholes in the ground.

Water cascades into one like a miniature waterfall, the drop measuring about 3.5 feet.

“It’s scary because every day, it keeps getting bigger and bigger and the last thing you want to do is nail that on the way to work,” she told Global News.

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City officials have also been out to the site and pylons, along with temporary barricades, have been placed around them.

The city also launched its “Report A Pothole” program, a map-based, GPS-enabled system that allows anyone to report a pothole to them. You can do so on your laptop, tablet or your smartphone.

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