Springtime in Saskatchewan is similar to the sounding of the starter’s pistol – it’s time for road builders and our members to get to work.

Many contractors will be returning to job sites this month in what is anticipated to be a busy construction season in our province.

While many of us experienced change over the past year because of the restraints brought on by the pandemic, our primary focus as we return to work remains unchanged – safety on the job site.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. We all want to return home at the end of the workday in the same shape we arrived that morning.

This means we continue to adhere to the health and safety protocols on job sites. We use the proper personal protective equipment when handling machinery and tools; we obey the speed limits in orange zones and watch for others entering those zones; we lend a hand to our coworkers; we try to be physically distant whenever possible and we wash and sanitize our hands regularly.

We just wrapped up our Safe Digging Month campaign in April and reminded both contractors and the public to call for a free line locate when digging around underground infrastructure. This essential step in the safe digging process is ensuring all underground utility lines are located and marked.

These friendly reminders are nothing new to contractors. We all did our part last year and followed the health and safety guidelines that were instituted. I want to commend everyone for a safe season in 2020.

We all want that trend to continue this summer.

Rural roads, bridges set for upgrades this year

On May 10, the provincial government announced 69 rural municipalities are to receive $25.7 million under Phase 3 of the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program.

The grants cover up to 50 per cent of a project’s total cost, to a maximum of $500,000.

Through the RIRG program, the government is helping RMs improve 219 roads at a cost of $233.6 million, with $55.5 million of that provided through the program.

There are 63 projects from phases 1 and 2 that are underway.

Our members are working on more than 1,350 kilometres of highways this year.