Highway 5 Corridor Improvement Project
Summer construction continues on the Highway 5 corridor safety improvement project.
This multi-year highway improvement project is being completed in three phases from Saskatoon city limits to the junction of Highway 2.
During construction, crews will be making their best efforts to accommodate traffic. Drivers can expect long delays; however, alternate routes are available such as Highways 41, 27 or Highway 316, 16 and 2. These alternate routes are signed. Drivers are reminded to be patient, watch for workers and pay close attention to signs when driving through the work zone.
Safety is the first priority, and work will be done in a way that keeps both the public and the construction crews safe. For updates on road restrictions and delays related to this project, please check in with the Highway Hotline.
Phase 1 (Old 27 Road - Blucher Road)
Phase 1 is now complete. This part of the project included about 10 km of repaving, widening and sight-line improvements through the hills and valleys east of Old 27 Road to Blucher Road. HJR Asphalt of Saskatoon was the contractor for Phase 1.
Phase 2 (Highway 2 Junction West)
Phase 2 will be constructed in two different contracts. This will help to limit the amount of road under construction at once along this 30-km stretch of highway from Highway 2 to Blucher Road.
Langenburg Redi-Mix of Regina is the contractor for the first segment of Phase 2 work from the intersection with Highway 2 to about 15 kilometres (km) west. Construction includes repaving, widening, sight-line improvements and the construction of eastbound and westbound passing lanes. Design work is nearing completion for the second segment of this phase, which will stretch the final 15 km to Blucher Road.
All 19 culverts have been bored, 13 culverts have been decommissioned and 7 culverts remain to be decommissioned.
Roadwork started in the middle of May. The contractor started work on the west end and is working to the east. The subgrade is completed between Km 10.0 - 14.8 and Granular work started the week of September 12, 2022.
Km 0 to 8 is mostly notch and widen, where Km 8 to 14.8 was mostly large cuts and fills. So it is anticipated that the work on the east end of the job will move faster. The contractor will have to plan their work accordingly as they are required to have Highway 5 as a dust free surface over the winter, therefore required to have a lift of asphalt on any section of road that has been opened up. Any work remaining will be completed in the Spring of 2023.Overall, Phase 2 of the project will include a number of safety improvements such as passing lanes, widening of the shoulders, repaving, sight-line improvements, access consolidation, intersection realignment on the St. Denis access, intersection treatments, and culvert replacements.
Phase 3 (Twinning East of Saskatoon City Limits)
Phase 3 of the project runs about 10 km east from the City of Saskatoon, and includes twinning of Highway 5 and repaving of the existing lanes. Discussions with property owners for changes to access and land acquisition continue.
Design work is proceeding for this final segment. Public feedback is being used in the final design, and final design will be presented to the public later in the year.
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How will traffic accommodations be communicated during construction?
Traffic accommodation will be the responsibility of the successful contractor, who is selected through a competitive bid process once the design is complete. The contractor will choose construction phasing and make a plan for traffic accommodation during construction. Traffic accommodation will comply with Ministry of Highways' (MoH's) traffic control standards. MoH requires contractors to maintain access to all affected properties during construction, meaning all properties will stay accessible during construction. Information on how those traffic accommodations will be shared by the contractor once they have a plan in place.
In addition, the successful contractor is responsible for implementing alternative route signs which will direct traffic to use Highways 41, 27 or Highway 16, 316 and 2. These routes will be signed as an alternate route.
How will impacts on phone and power lines be addressed so that service is maintained?
As a standard part of highway improvement work, utility providers are engaged during the design phase of the project. Utility relocations will be completed before the road work starts to maintain service during construction.
Why is the full corridor from Saskatoon to Highway 2 not being twinned?
All highway construction projects are done with safety in mind. Traffic studies show that current traffic volumes on most of Highway 5 aren't high enough for the road to need twinning. Passing lanes are a cost-effective option for drivers to be able to pass safely. Passing lanes can reduce collisions by 25% at a much lower cost than twinning.
What is planned for the St. Denis access?
Improvements to the St. Denis Access will include a combination of realigning the St. Denis Access Road to the west as well as cutting down the hill on Highway 5 to improve lines of sight.
Why is Phase 3 (10-km section of Highway 5 from the existing twinned section east of Saskatoon to Old 27 Road) being twinned rather than installing passing lanes?
Traffic volumes on most of Highway 5 aren't currently high enough for the road to need twinning. Twinning between the City of Saskatoon and the intersection with Old 27 Road is being completed because current traffic volumes along this section of the corridor are high. The difference in this section is largely due to the number of acreage, subdivision, and industrial developments in the area. The current number of vehicles travelling within Phase 3 means the segment needs to be twinned to reduce collisions and increase both traffic capacity and the reliability of the highway system.
Why is Phase 3 (i.e. the twinning section) being constructed last?
The timeline for this segment is the furthest in the future because the design is more complex, there are more utilities impacted, and there is more disruption to landowners. MoH is committed to communicating directly with landowners who are directly impacted by access consolidation and land acquisition and wants to provide adequate time for those conversations and decisions to take place.
Where will the transition be between the twinning section and the regular two lanes?
The twinning section will end near the intersection of Highway 5 and Old 27 Road.
What are the setback distances for buildings from the highway right-of-way?
Required setbacks (space between the highway right-of-way and buildings) are determined using MoH's Roadside Management Policy. The minimum setback depends on the class of the highway, if a frontage road is planned or exists, the sightlines, if the highway is being upgraded or built new, and if the building is existing or proposed to be built. Setbacks will be discussed with directly impacted landowners during the engagement process.
How are the locations for the highway improvements selected (i.e. why was the north side chosen for the twinning rather than the south)?
An engineering study was completed to determine which side of the highway the twinning would be constructed on. The study reviewed multiple types of impacts including potential effects to properties, utilities, heritage resources, environmental components, access management, and the amount of land required. Based on an assessment of these factors, the study concluded that twinning to the north was the better option.
How much land is needed along Highway 5 for the Project?
Typically, a 102-metre-wide right-of-way is required for highway twinning, although more may be required depending on factors such as topography. If a service road is also built along the highway, an additional right-of-way approximately 40 m wide is also required. The existing right-of-way width varies along the corridor and is typically about 60 m wide. Attempts have been made to reduce the amount of land required for the project as the design has been developed, which should decrease some potential impact to adjacent landowners.
What long-term planning will there be regarding the Highway 316 realignment?
Stantec is currently completing a long-term planning study for the Highway 5 and Highway 316 junction, separate from the Highway 5 Corridor Improvement Project. Improvements at the junction of Highway 5 and 316 are planned for 30 to 50 years in the future, but MoH is considering other improvements in the meantime. Stantec completed a General Location Study and an Option Evaluation Study in 2019. During these studies, a stakeholder engagement program was carried out with landowners in the General Location Study area. The stakeholder engagement program included two rounds of an online survey, in-person meetings with key industry stakeholders, and provided email/telephone contact for people to contact MoH/Stantec with questions or concerns. Online survey invitations were shared with landowners in the General Location Study area using hand delivered postcards. Close to 200 people completed the online surveys. A summary of the engagement results was included in the General Location Study and Option Evaluation Study reports. Stantec is currently working on a functional design for the best option at the junction.
There is currently a fire department at Sunset Estates. How will quick access be maintained so response times don't suffer?
MoH and Stantec are aware of the fire hall location and have discussed the design with the fire department and RMs to maintain easy access for emergency services. Contractors are required to follow MoH traffic accommodation standards during construction. A Traffic Management Plan is required during construction that will identify accommodations for emergency situations. Flag Persons are also required to try to get emergency vehicles through the work zone quickly and efficiently. MoH also requires contractors to maintain access to all affected properties during construction, meaning no property, emergency services or otherwise, will be cut from access from/to emergency services.
Can a guardrail be installed in the median through the twinning section?
Generally, an undivided four lane highway with a median guardrail does not meet MoH policies regarding safety standards. Median guardrails can also cause operational concerns for things such as for snow clearing and left turning trucks and increases maintenance requirements. Options to narrow the land required for the project have been reviewed as part of the design process for the twinning section.
What about safety improvements at the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 5?
The intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 5 is under the jurisdiction of the City of Saskatoon. Safety improvements at this junction of are out of the scope of the Highway 5 Corridor Improvement Project.
What interim solutions are being planned for segments to be constructed further in the future?
At this time, no interim solutions are being planned for segments of Highway 5 that will be constructed further in the future.
How are land requirements determined and what land acquisition is required for the project?
Throughout the design process, MoH and/or Stantec has been meeting with directly impacted landowners to determine options for access consolidation and land acquisition. The project design will determine the amount of land that is required. Sometimes a project may require an entire parcel and other times, just a small portion of the land is needed. Generally, landowners are not asked to sell more land than is required for the project.
How will landowners be contacted regarding access consolidation, land acquisition and other potential effects of the project to their land?
MoH and/or Stantec have had one-on-one conversations with directly impacted landowners regarding access to their properties. MoH and/or Stantec have been sharing proposed relocations with directly impacted landowners. Sometimes it is necessary to move a driveway to improve the overall safety of the highway.
On farmlands, what happens with concerns such as fence lines, non-residential buildings, existing water wells, loss of access to farmlands from the highway and compensation for gravel extracted?
Fences impacted by the project will be relocated or replaced along the new property lines at the expense of MoH. If relocation of a building is required, they may be relocated to other areas on the property, at the expense of MoH. If a well is located within the portion of land required for the project, an alternate method to provide water to the property will be discussed with the landowner. Depending on cost, there may be the option to choose between replacing the well or connecting the property to a water utility. If access to a parcel is removed and an alternate access does not already exist, new access will be provided. Borrow material (i.e., earth material used to build the base of the road) will be compensated for through borrow agreements. The Contractor will be responsible for supplying gravel material on this project and may approach landowners to coordinate agreements for gravel sources.
What is the process for relocating houses?
A dwelling may need to be moved if it becomes too close to the highway and no longer meets safety and design standards. A dwelling may be relocated elsewhere on the property or to another property location entirely.
Who completes the appraisal of land/property?
Appraisals are generally completed by an independent third-party appraiser. This option is provided by MoH at no cost to the landowner. Landowners also have the option to independently consult with a qualified appraiser.
Where can I find additional information on land acquisition?
Additional information, including frequently asked questions about the land acquisition process is available on the Acquiring Land for Highway Construction webpage. For additional information, contact: Leah Cawood, Land and Property Manager – Saskatoon at 306-933-5194 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will project information be communicated as the project progresses?
The dedicated email address (email@example.com) is available for anyone to contact MoH and Stantec with questions or feedback about the project. The email inbox is monitored daily and responses are provided as quickly as possible. The project specific webpage will be updated periodically with information as it becomes available. Meetings with landowners and key stakeholders are ongoing and will continue as the project progresses.
How will landowners be contacted regarding access consolidation or land acquisition?
Landowners will be contacted by MoH's Land Branch and/or Stantec via phone call, email, or mailed letter to discuss potential access consolidation or land acquisition. MoH and Stantec have reviewed the feedback from previous engagement activities, and have been developing a design that minimizes the impact to landowners.