A collapsed section of Highway 302 near Prince Albert has taken more than four months to repair. The NDP has been working with local community members to demand government stop making excuses and fix the road.
NDP Highways and Infrastructure critic Buckley Belanger and community members visited the area again Saturday, where work is still far from complete. The road’s initial collapse was following a culvert backup on May 3. The scheduled completion date for repairs was June 24, but the highway is still washed out, causing a lengthy detour for residents.
“The giant, four-month hole at Highway 302 is a case of highway mismanagement by this government, and that’s been happening far too often,” said Belanger. “This government has turned a common, one-month culvert repair into a four-month, $1.2 million boondoggle. Families, workers and businesses have been really hurt by the long detour in place, and they tell me they don’t want to hear one more excuse – they want to see action and results.”
Frustrated residents have organized public meetings, contacted the minister, written to the premier to call for disciplinary action and issued a public challenge to the premier to visit the region.
Even Sask. Party MLA Delbert Kirsch admits his government has failed.
“Highways has been making some mistakes -- some serious mistakes,” he told a community meeting on July 10. He added that “Highways has let us down, here,” and said “there are things happening here that shouldn’t be happening.” Despite acknowledging that the government has failed, Kirsch has neglected to follow through and actually get the highway fixed.
In the meantime, a 14-kilometre detour on rough gravel roads is in place, and Belanger said that can’t continue into the winter.
“Prince Albert families don’t want to have to continue to use that detour when winter weather becomes an issue,” said Belanger. “This should have been a simple culvert repair, and it’s turned into a lengthy string of errors, stalling and wasted money. It’s time for the government to stop ignoring Prince Albert families, get out here and get the road fixed.”