REGINA — Traffic should be flowing again on the Trans-Canada Highway between southern Alberta and Saskatchewan after severe flooding shut down the major artery more than a week ago.
Officials with Saskatchewan’s Highways Ministry say an “army” of road crews has been working 24-hours a day on making temporary repairs to damaged sections of the road.
“In many cases our crews and contractors have been working full out and around the clock to get this important highway reopened,” said Jim Reiter, the province’s highways minister, in a press release.
Traffic flow will be restricted to two lanes in each direction on several stretches of the highway, which is normally a four-lane road.
The highway closed June 19 after days of heavy rain put several sections in both provinces under water, forcing drivers to take a 200-kilometre detour.
The flooding also heavily damaged many homes in southeastern Alberta and in southwestern Saskatchewan after days of intense rain caused flash floods to rip through several communities.
The force of the water caused a culvert to fail just west of Maple Creek, Sask., causing a section of highway to collapse. It created a large pit and a rushing waterfall that became a kind of weird tourist attraction.
The ministry in Saskatchewan says during the washout near Maple Creek June 20, a section of the west-bound lanes was completely destroyed while a portion of the east-bound passing lane was also severely damaged.
Temporary repairs have now been completed to the east-bound lanes of the highway in that area.
As many as 70 trucks hauling construction material, and several bulldozers and backhoes have been involved in what the Saskatchewan government is calling a “massive operation.”
“We know travellers, truckers and area residents are eager to see normal, four-lane services on Highway 1,” said Reiter. “We will work diligently to fully reopen the Trans-Canada and we thank the public for their patience and understanding.”
Flood waters have also receded near the provincial boundary in southeastern Alberta on a section of highway that was completely covered by more than a metre of water just over a week ago.
RCMP officials are warning drivers to continue to watch for water in the eastbound lane of the highway about 15 kilometres east of Irvine, in southeastern Alberta.