SECTION: 566

TITLE: HIGHWAY CLOSURES

SUPERSEDES/RESCINDS:

EFFECTIVE DATE:


In accordance with the Highways Act, only the Minister of Saskatchewan Highways has the authority to close a Provincial Road or Highway. This authority has been delegated to the Regional Directors and/or the Area Managers.

From time to time, the RCMP or other police agencies may find it necessary to close a highway in an emergency situation such as a motor vehicle accident. In these instances, the Area Office for the respective highway must be notified immediately. During the winter season, contact the Highway Hotline directly. Information should include type of accident, reason for closure and expected time of closure.

When the highway is reopened, the Area Office and Hotline must be advised.

It is the responsibilty of Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation to issue highway closures in the winter. These closures are only issued where driving conditions are extreme or a highway is impassable. Generally, two conditions must exist before a highway is closed. An example would be zero visibility and slippery conditions. The Area Manager for the respective highway must be contacted prior to this type of Highway closure - see Area Manager List. The Area Manager will assess the situation and make the decision to close the highway or leave it open to public travel. The Area Manager will advise the RCMP accordingly.

If a highway closure is issued, the RCMP or other police agencies may be called upon to assist in operating any road blocks due to winter road closures. In the event of reduced visibilities, the Department will not erect or operatre barricades for the purposes of closing a provincial highway. Closures may be a result of reduced visibilities from winter storms or smoke from forest fires.

In the event you are unable to contact the Area Manager regarding road closures, you may contact the Executive Directors listed below for the appropriate Region.

Northern Region:

Stu Armstrong

Office: 953-3501

Home: 922-9284

Cellular: 961-2919

Central Region:

Terry Schmidt

Office: 933-6226

Home: 374-8854

Cellular: 230-8428

Southern Region:

Terry Blomme

Office: 787-4973

Home: 775-1908

Cellular: 536-6285

The movement of goods, services and persons on the provincial highway network is vital to the economy of the province and to the social well being of all Saskatchewan residents. Saskatchewan Highways will only close a provincial highway when there is eminent risk or danger to the highway user or where the highway is required for emergency purposes such as staging areas for emergency response teams and fire fighting activities.

The authority to close a provincial highway rests solely with the Minister of Highways (or designate) but it is understood that the police or Saskatchewan Environment (SE) may close a highway if there is a critical situation that endangers the lives of people. In such an event, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation (SHT) must be notified as soon as is practical after the closure.

The decision to close a provincial highway or road because of forest fires should be a joint decision making process between the RCMP, SE Fire Control Centre and SHT. All communications and news releases on the highway closure are to be done through SHT or be approved by SHT prior to release.

The Northern Region Office in Prince Albert will coordinate all requests for assistance or support from Saskatchewan Environment (SE) and/or the RCMP to deal with forest fires and subsequent highway closures. The Department has designated the Regional Coordinator as the contact. The Regional Coordinator, who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the fire season, will coordinate the initial request for a highway closure resulting from forest fires.

All communications/requests regarding road closures, re-opening, etc., must be provided to the Regional Coordinator without delay.

The designated contact person is:

Robin Briere, Prince Albert

Office: 953-3523

Cellular: 961-9517

Home: 764-9008

Fax: 953-3533

In the event you are unable to contact Robin, proceed in order in the following list:

1. Executive Director, Prince Albert

Office: 953-3501

Fax: 953-3533

2. Gord King, Director, Preservation Services, Prince Albert

Office: 953-3509

Cellular: 961-2918

Home: 763-6976

Fax: 953-3533

Fax: 933-7988

If the situation is urgent, and for the sake of expediency, you may contact the Area Manager responsible directly. However, the Regional Coordinator must be notified as soon as is practical.

The primary role of SHT is to provide traffic accommodation, that is, to provide staff, signing, barricades, etc. for traffic control. If there are problems or security issues, the RCMP may be asked to assist.

All conditions affecting the highway operation are to be reported directly to the Regional Coordinator, Highways. The Regional Coordinator will be responsible for updating the Highway Hotline system.

The public can access highway condition information anytime by calling our Highway Hotline. Recorded information is available by calling:

From within Saskatoon City and surrounding area 933-8333

From within Regina City and surrounding area 787-7623

From all other areas of the province 1-888-335-7623

On the web at: www.ighways.gov.sk.ca> Road Conditions