“In the last 25 years, we have gone through a transportational revolution. The internal combustion engine and the inflated tire have changed the whole economy, not only of the North American continent, but of the western world. Roads… have become as essential a part of our economy as railroads were 75 years ago. And I think that we completely underestimate what the demands of motor-vehicle traffic are going to be in the next quarter of a century.
I think that if we could look into the future tonight we would realize that we are under-planning highway construction all over Canada.”
– Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas in January 1958
This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.
In 1917, the Highways Act came into effect, which ceased the existence of the Board of Highway Commissioners and gave birth to a new ministry – the Department of Highways.
William M. Martin was premier that year and the equipment used to build and maintain highways was much different.
Over the past century, we have seen our roads take on many variations. From goat trails made of dirt to gravel roads to highways constructed by horse-drawn machinery, we know our roadways in Saskatchewan impact nearly every sector of our economy.
And good governments invest in good roads. That’s because good roads often lead to prosperous businesses.
Saskatchewan is home to the most roads per capita than any other province. Because Saskatchewan is landlocked, highway travel to all corridors of the province is a vital part in sustaining our way of life. Highways impact public safety, the environment and allow for growth and economic prosperity.
We rely on our roads to transport our products to international markets and, like they did 100 years ago, to attract more business opportunities. Investing in roads and highways makes good business sense. It’s a model that has stood the test of time.
“We’ve come a long way in the past 100 years; from building roads with a horse and scraper, to asphalt pavement, and now to overpasses and highways with 25,000 vehicles per day,” said Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit. “During the past century, we’re pleased to have had the privilege of employing thousands of professional men and women who have had excellent careers working with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.”