by Shantel Lipp Shantel Lipp

While COVID-19 continues to decimate our lives – both personally and professionally – there is some good news to share.

In an effort to boost our struggling economy, stimulus funding from the federal and provincial governments has been received at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) head office. More than 60 projects are available to bidding contractors, with more projects to come over the next several weeks and months.

Don’t be surprised if we see close to 100 projects come to tender throughout the spring and summer.

SARM’s annual budget is usually around $14 to 15 million for roads, bridge and culverts, with approximately seven to 10 road projects each year. This year, we’ve already seen more than 60 road projects come available. More are on the way.

In fact, total funding for rural roads over the next three years is close to $45 million. SARM wants to enhance 163,000 kilometres of roadways in close to 100 RMs across the province. 

SARM initially announced 30 projects available for tenders in July 2020. An additional 30 projects hit the market in October and now they are waiting for provincial approval to unveil a third round of projects. 

In addition to road work, we’re likely to see ample projects that focus on bridge work – approximately 1,400 municipal bridges across the province are in need of repair. 

Total funding for bridge and culvert work is pegged at $31.5 million over the next four years.

Combine the wealth of projects from SARM with the work that is surely to come in relation to the Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project and we’re optimistic our industry will be humming for the next decade and longer.

More good news came from the provincial budget announcement on April 6. It was a surprise, albeit a pleasant one, to see the government invest more heavily than expected through the Ministry of Highways.

This is welcomed news for our industry and news we should celebrate. Though we do realize and respect the fact that a lot of people in the province have suffered losses, both with loved ones and financial assets. 

Let’s get to work! Stay safe, everyone.