December 9, 2015 7:24 pm
Updated: December 9, 2015 9:48 pm

Province marks construction of first phase of Regina bypass, but admits to delays

The construction is the first phase of the $1.8 billion bypass project, which is the largest infrastructure undertaking in the Saskatchewan's history.

Brandon Gonez / Global News
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REGINA – It’s full steam ahead for the Regina bypass as construction officially began on the White City overpass Wednesday.

“The community has been waiting for a long time and we get emotional,” said Mayor Bruce Evans.

Numerous lives have been lost the stretch of Highway 1 east of Regina.

It’s been known for its high speeds, dangerous left turns and recent explosive population growth. The province hopes the new overpasses will help reduce collisions.

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“That’s what this project is all about is safe access on and off the highway number one. And we need to be able to accommodate that traffic, as well as east/west provincial truck traffic,” explained Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner.

The construction is the first phase of the $1.8 billion bypass project, which is the largest infrastructure undertaking in the Saskatchewan’s history.

READ MORE: Bypass saves taxpayers $380 million: report

But there’s been opposition with some local groups calling for an entire route change and others for things like traffic lights.

“We understand not everyone is going to be happy, but at the end of the day you got to get a shovel in the ground,” said Heppner.

Heppner added the construction could come with delays and residents in the area should prepare.

“The idea of reduc(ing) speed limits and signage is something everybody will get use to,” said Evans.

Already the project is experiencing delays. The Balgonie, White City, Pilot Butte and Tower Road overpasses were all intended to be completed by 2017.

But according to the province, due to utility moves the Pilot Butte overpass won’t be finished until 2019.

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