About the Saskatoon Freeway Project
When fully developed, the Saskatoon Freeway will provide a high-speed, free-flow bypass route around Saskatoon, as well as a commuter route for surrounding communities.
- Improve safety.
- Reduce congestion in and around Saskatoon.
- Increase efficiency for Saskatchewan producers, shippers and truckers moving goods to market.
A general location study was conducted of the area to determine a 500-metre wide corridor of the freeway around Saskatoon that would allow traffic to flow freely and safely.
A functional planning study was underway to determine appropriate access points to the freeway, while narrowing down the area of the corridor necessary for future construction. Planning for an infrastructure project of this magnitude begins many years in advance of construction. Construction is not anticipated to begin for at least another 15 years.
More information about the functional planning study is available at www.saskatoonfreeway.org.
(Note: video content was created during the general location study in 2017)
While working to develop alignment options, it was important to review the large study area for restrictions, including:
- Existing and future developments
- Environmental and wildlife habitat concerns
- Railway lines
- Utility corridors
- Local geography
Stakeholder and public engagement involved discussions with a number of key stakeholders:
- Saskatoon Trucking Association
- Indigenous communities
- Planning for Growth
- Landowners impacted by the study area
Previous Stakeholder and Public Consultation
Planning for the Saskatoon Freeway has been ongoing since the mid-2000’s. Stakeholder and public input is critical to the planning process. Face-to-face meetings and public open houses have been held previously to provide information about the project and gather input for the future freeway.
At the first public open house on June 25, 2015, a number of alignment options were presented for the southeast and west quadrants. Following the June information session, an internal benefit/cost analysis was conducted to determine if the southwest connection was required. The Saskatoon Regional Travel Demand Model (TDM) was used to analyze and compare three possible alignment options: Grasswood Road, Baker Road and Victor Road. Overall, the analysis showed negative benefits for routes further away from the city due to significantly increased cost and decreased use. The decision was made to exclude the southwest connection from Highway 7 to Highway 219 from further study.
On November 19, 2015, a second public information session was held with the three alignments shown in the southeast and the west, and noting that the southwest zone was excluded from the study. There were concerns about the uncertainty and development restrictions; and there was shared consensus for the removal of the southwest segment, between Highway 7 and Highway 11, from further study.
In 2018, a general location study was completed that determined a 500-metre-wide corridor for the freeway around Saskatoon; this study was endorsed by the City of Saskatoon and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. The Ministry of Highways then completed a functional planning study with our consultant team of SNC Lavalin, AECOM and Praxis.
In 2019, a functional planning study began, which looks more closely at land requirements, road connections, intersection controls, and narrowing down the corridor size. The first phase of public engagement on the functional planning study took place in 2019 and 2020. The second phase of engagement, focusing on the eastern portion of the route, began in 2020.
The general location study took place prior to the detailed design phase and is used for future planning.
This route was deemed impractical based on current and projected traffic volumes, which do not warrant it. The public also expressed concerns about a route through the study area. A review of route options further south of Victor Road may be required in the distant future.
The Ministry of Highways retained Associated Engineering in April 2015 to complete the general location study for the south portion of the Saskatoon Freeway.
No project costs can be established until future phases of planning.
Saskatoon Freeway Alignment
The ministry has been studying the Saskatoon Freeway since the mid-2000s. The alignment in the southeast was previously studied in 2005.
Options have been developed based on the identified constraints and the functionality required for the freeway. The Triple Bottom Line evaluation method is used to assess the options and determine the preferred routes, taking into consideration environmental, social and economic criteria. The preferred option is the option with the highest overall score. A Saskatoon Regional Travel Demand Model was used to inform the decision in the southwest. It's a commonly recognized tool that forecasts travel for an area by utilizing: population and economic growth indicators, existing and future land use, travel characteristics and behaviours, and existing and future infrastructure information.
The southwest area is no longer impacted by the study, so there are no restrictions on development. The areas in the southeast and west will be protected along the recommended routes, with all other land being released from the study restrictions immediately. The RM of Corman Park bylaws will still apply.
The ministry's intention is to impact the fewest number of individuals/landowners. Our approach is to work with the people in the area to reach some common ground in order to proceed with the planning. While no land is currently being acquired, it may be in the future as phases of the freeway are constructed. Ministry land agents meet with landowners on an individual basis and offers are based on the principles of fair and reasonable compensation. A number of processes are in place to work with landowners to reach a mutually acceptable value, including independent appraisals and mediation.
Planning for the future Saskatoon Freeway will take many more years as part of the long-range planning process. Following the general location study, the functional planning study began in 2019; the detailed design stage will begin at some point in the future. Once the planning is complete, additional time is required to determine a construction strategy, costs and timeline.
Construction will take place as traffic volumes and development warrant. Planning for an infrastructure project of this magnitude begins many years in advance of construction. Construction is not anticipated to begin for at least another 15 years. Keep in mind, the Saskatoon Freeway may be built in phases. No timeline or project cost has been established for additional planning work or construction.
Landowners and other stakeholders who may be impacted are being contacted directly. Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park are represented on the study's steering and advisory committees.
For further information, please contact:
Ministry of Highways: Geoffrey Meinert