The driving experience from Saskatoon east along Highway 16 has changed over the summer with the installation of passing lanes. Changes include enhanced turning lanes into communities and intersections. While improvements will undoubtedly make the east west conduit much safer, one intersection is proving problematic during its reconstruction.
The junction of Highway 16 and Highway 20 north toward Humboldt is a T-intersection about 8 km west of Lanigan. The junction is relatively heavily trafficked, given the number of mine workers who live in Humboldt and area. The construction at that site is largely completed and will see improved turning and pass through lanes. The current problem is that until the traffic barrels that restrict flow are removed and lane paint is put down, the intersection is not clear to navigate. A light was removed to accommodate the construction, so in twilight and dark hours, the hazard increases. Most puzzling is the removal of signage during the construction for eastbound travellers. Those unfamiliar with the roadway have no indication of an upcoming intersection. Even motorists well versed with the area have reported blowing through the turn, ending up on their way west into Lanigan before they realize their error. Concern is mounting that the combination of factors is creating a temporary, but nevertheless serious, problem.
“The paving work has been done, and there’s a street light that needs to be moved,” explains David Horth, director of communications for the Ministry of Highways. “We’re waiting for SaskPower to relocate the pole for the street light. All that’s left to do is paint lines, and we hope to have that done within days, weather permitting.”
That means the cones and traffic barrels currently guiding travellers through the junction will be gone and the intersection will be restored with its improvements.
As for the eastbound signage, Horth said he was not aware of any removal of signs during construction. As of this story’s publication, the only signs along the stretch of Highway 16 eastbound at the junction are work zone signs cautioning motorists to slow to 60 km/hr. Horth said the Ministry would be in touch with the construction contractors to clarify the situation.
Since construction is wrapping up at the site, the signs indicating the turn to Humboldt and drawing drivers attention to the intersection will be returned.
“It will be marked as well as it ever was,” says Horth.
The improvements are all part of the multi-million dollar highways project that will see passing lanes and improved access lanes along Highway 16 from Saskatoon to Yorkton.