August 27, 2014 5:19 pm
Updated: August 27, 2014 7:19 pm

Province adds six new highway cameras

A view from a camera located on Highway 11 in Davidson, Sask.

Supplied / Ministry of Highways

REGINA – Saskatchewan now has six new roadside cameras installed on the provincial highway system.

The new cameras have been installed to provide more road information to the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline.

“We take pride in providing timely road information to travellers, and these new tools will help motorists with their route planning,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner said.

“The Highway Hotline receives millions of web visits and phone calls annually and we’re building on the service we currently provide.”

The new highway cameras took several months to install and will be located in the following areas:

The new cameras are just one part of other planned improvements meant to notify drivers of highway issues, including accidents, spills and other events that could slow traffic down.

“We are listening to the public, and they have indicated they would like to see more cameras available,” Heppner said. “The upgrades being made to the Hotline will complement other additions in recent years such as the use of social media and the Trucker’s Report.”

“In a province where the road and weather conditions can change so rapidly – and safety is so essential, and the changing road and weather conditions can affect how people operate, we’re really excited,” said Nicole Sinclair with the Saskatchewan Trucking Association.

Last year, the Highway Hotline broke a record for number of users.

CAA Saskatchewan hopes the addition of the new cameras will only encourage more people to use the site: “I think as motorists we need to take responsibility and say, ‘Okay, the cameras are there.  There are resources out there. I’m going to be driving myself or my family, where am I going to look?” said director of communications, Christine Niemczyk.

Saskatchewan now has 10 cameras in total, but neighbouring Alberta has over eighty and B.C. has more than 200.  The province has no plans to add any more, though because of the expense, about $35 000 per camera.

The ministry also cautioned against relying too much on the cameras.

“Highway cameras are limited. You can’t use them at night or in areas that are more rural or remote and you can’t quite see as well, for example, if there’s black ice on a road,” said Joel Cherry, a communications consultant with the Ministry of Highways.

Even so, the government admits they were responding to public pressure – and they might have to do that again.

“We’d like to see more cameras in the future; I think this is a step in the right direction,” said Sinclair.

For the latest conditions of Saskatchewan roadways you can visit the Highway Hotline website or call 1-888-335-7623.

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