As drivers continue adjusting to the east section of the Regina Bypass, the city continues to be surrounded by orange zones to the north, south and west.
Phase two of the massive Regina Bypass project is ramping up with 26 different bridge structures currently under construction at seven different locations between Highway 33 southeast and Highway 11 north.
Regina Bypass structure manager Darrell Trapp says mild winters and dry summers have helped keep the project on schedule.
“There’s a lot of positive buzz around how this is going to impact the shipment and movement of goods throughout Saskatchewan,” he commented.
Trapp adds that he’s happy to be part of a project of this scope.
“This is my legacy project, the biggest one I’ve worked in my 40-year career,” he said.
On the first media tour stop for the overpass at Highway 6 south, Trapp explained the bridge work is about 75 per cent complete and should be finished by this fall but it will take more time to tie in the roadways and open them to traffic.
Driving between Highway 6 and the Pinkie Road overpass at Highway 1, crews can be seen building up the roadway with layers of different material before topping with asphalt.
Behind the signs and traffic blockades driving through the Highway 1 west interchange shows the scale of the work underway. At last count, there were more than 250 people working on all the various sites of the bypass, and that was just early in the spring.
“There’s seven bridges in this interchange – it’s a high-speed interchange and there’s over two million cubic metres of dirt here so far,” Trapp explained to reporters overlooking the Highway 1 west interchange.
Pointing to each bridge he labeled them as 18, 19 and 20 and noted the piece of equipment on one side that is involved in pouring the concrete. Trapp noted that the hot summer temperatures actually make the process more complicated. Crews have to use ice and start work at 4 a.m. in order to keep the concrete mixture at the ideal temperature.
Brent Miller is the director of major projects for the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and heavily involved in weekly meetings to plan traffic detours around the bypass construction.
“It is a challenge, there’s a lot of brainstorming and long meetings that happen to develop the plan and try and get it right. Sometimes it’s a work in progress and we have to do tweaks and modifications on the fly but it’s worked fairly well,” Miller said.
“I’d like to thank the public for their patience, you know just bear with us, the light is at the end of the tunnel.”
This should be the second last summer drivers will have to deal with Regina Bypass construction, with the final opening date set for October 2019.