Stimulus funding enables crucial maintenance and upgrades to rural roads and bridges
The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning colour and you can find a pumpkin spice latte anyplace! As fall slowly arrives, there is a lot of beauty to be seen on the rural roads. There’s nothing better than packing a lunch, taking a day trip and exploring the palette of colours all around the province.
Saskatchewan boasts the most kilometres of rural roads in Canada. It’s these roads that lead us to Regina to watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders or simply to your favourite ice cream stand for a treat, not to mention the beauty and hidden gems of days gone by on Saskatchewan’s rural back roads.
The roads we travel to reach local regional parks are under the jurisdiction of the Rural Municipalities (RMs). The Ministry of Highways provides the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) funding to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), which manages and distributes it to RMs to help support the upgrade of these tourism roads, bridges and large culverts throughout the years.
This year saw a huge influx of stimulus funding for SARM to manage on behalf of the provincial government: $44.2 million dollars, to be exact, and that was just for roads!
So far, the RIRG Stimulus Funding has provided road funding for over 100 RM projects throughout the province, and there’s more to come. The application process is open for RIRG capital projects until Oct. 29, 2021.
Rural Saskatchewan also has bridges, lots of bridges – there are approximately 1,400 of them for fishing at your favourite spots.
In Phase 1 of 2020, 28 bridge projects in 20 RMs were approved for a total estimated project cost of $23,506,645 and total estimated grant funding of $9,609,822.50.
In Phase 2 of 2020, 20 bridge projects in 18 RMs (the RM 152 project is shared with RM 151 as the Qu’Appelle River serves as an RM boundary between them) were approved for a total estimated project cost of $17,035,983 and total estimated grant funding of $6,950,491.50.
We would like to thank SHCA contractor members for the great work done in rural Saskatchewan this summer. Our hope is that the fall continues with nice warm days conducive to safely working on the rural roads, bridges and large culverts in the province.
SARM wishes you a safe, healthy fun-filled fall and encourages you to explore rural Saskatchewan!
Terry E. Hoeving is IDC advisor and RIRG lead at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM).