Now that Highway 39 between Estevan and Bienfait has been twinned, the provincial government is hoping that it will mean improved safety and efficiency along that road. The work was completed Friday, November 17th.
"We were able to complete the last bit of work which involved the pavement marking," explained Doug Wakabayashi, executive Director for Communications with the Ministry of Highways. "So we were able to get the new lanes open to traffic."
"The bulk of the work involved twinning Highway 39 from just past Estevan to the Bienfait access to the junction of Highway 18. In addition we realigned the junction of Highway 39 and Highway 18 near Bienfait so it's at 90 degree angles. The old intersection had a bit of a skew to it, so having intersections that are 90 degrees, it's a little bit safer because it improves sight lines for motorists in all directions."
"In addition to that, we did some improvements to the intersection of Highway 39 and Sawyer Road at Estevan, so that is a left turn lane and a right turn lane just to make things safer and improve traffic flow."
"And also the junction of Shand Road and Highway 39 at Estevan, and Bienfait access roads saw some improvements as well including things like turning lanes, acceleration lanes and right turn ramps."
Wakabayashi added that the primary reason behind the decision to twin that section of Highway 39 was safety.
"There's a lot of people, especially in the southeast part of the province, that have had concerns about safety on the entire Highway 6/39 corridor but this section especially has some of the highest traffic volume on that corridor. Having the two directions of travel separated certainly reduces the risk of head-on collisions."
"There's also a bit of a wider shoulder which gives drivers, if they need to, more room to make evasive maneuvers and it also provides a safe place for people to pull over if they are having car trouble and just need to stop and use their cellphone."
"Twinning also increases the capacity of the highway so that makes truck travel a lot more efficient as well."
He added that added with the work done to the Estevan Truck Bypass, the traffic with trucks and semis should become a lot safer.
The total cost of the project was $27 million with the Federal Government contributing up to $12.5 million.