The Government of Saskatchewan announced in a news releases on July 2 that it is partnering with Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) and the federal government to replace 100 RM bridges over the next four years.
“Our government continues to invest in rural infrastructure that improves safety and keeps our economy growing,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Greg Ottenbreit said in the release.
“The food, fuel, fertilizer and manufactured goods that our province exports often begin their path to market on a municipal road. We are happy to upgrade 100 rural bridges to ensure we can reliably get our goods to market.”
“Investments in public infrastructure, such as road improvements and bridge replacements, help build strong and competitive rural communities and improve the quality of life for Canadians,” Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development said in the release.
“We are proud to support these vital projects in Saskatchewan that will help create well-paying, stable jobs during the construction phase, and will also have positive and long-lasting benefits for residents and businesses for years to come.”
In addition to helping RMs address their infrastructure challenges, this program also supports agriculture, energy, forestry and other rural-based sectors. Over the next four years, the $31.5 million federal/provincial funding will be directed to rural bridge improvements.
“Our citizens rely on a safe and reliable transportation system,” Government Relations Minister Lori Carr said in the release.
“Today’s announcement concerning rural bridge improvements will allow businesses and residents to continue connecting with each other and help keep Saskatchewan strong.”
“There are about 1,475 bridges in rural Saskatchewan and many were built in the 60s and 70s and are at a point where the bridge needs to be replaced,” SARM President Ray Orb said in the release.
“This funding announcement will go towards addressing the current infrastructure challenge.”
Some rural bridge projects are currently going through the federal approval process, so work can begin this construction season.
Meanwhile, another intake for additional RM bridge projects is currently open and will close on July 19, 2020. Project applications can be made online through SARM’s website.
Many RM roads connect to the provincial or national highway system and weight-restricted bridges can create gaps and inefficiencies in the transportation network.
Projects will be cost-shared up to $500,000, with about 17 per cent of this amount coming from the federal government, while 33 per cent will come from the provincial government with the remaining share coming from the RMs.
The provincial government has invested $313 million in rural infrastructure since 2007, over and above municipal revenue sharing.
The Government of Saskatchewan has invested more than $9.8 billion in highways infrastructure since 2008, improving more than 15,800 km of Saskatchewan highways. Another $300 million in highways stimulus funds will be invested over the next two years to stimulate Saskatchewan’s economic recovery.