A picture of what a possible perimeter freeway around Saskatoon could look like is becoming clearer.
The city’s transportation committee reviewed the Ministry of Highway’s plan for a 55-kilometre twinned freeway bypassing the city. It’s a project the North Saskatoon Business Association said is crucial to the traffic flow and future development of the city.
“We see it as a very necessary piece of infrastructure,” NSBA executive director Keith Moen said.
“It will benefit not only those going around Saskatoon but those within the city as well.”
The biggest reason Moen points to is the daily congestion at one of Saskatoon’s busiest intersections - Circle Drive North and Idylwyld Drive.
“Because of the traffic congestion, it’s been problematic for years.”
The proposed bypass would run from Highway 11 south of Saskatoon, skirting along the city’s north and west, to the Yellowhead Highway and Highway 7.
The plan calls for 16 interchanges along the freeway, five railway overpasses, one major river crossing north of Saskatoon and at least two flyovers.
City Councillor Randy Donauer, who sits on the city’s transportation committee, said the bypass comes with a significant price tag, likely more than the $1.88 billion the province spent to build the Regina bypass.
Donauer added the province doesn’t expect to put shovels in the ground for at least 10 years. According to the province’s plan there is no timeline for a final decision regarding the freeway’s construction.
The ministry proposes a three-phase plan to study and finalize a design for the freeway, which it plans to have completed in 2021.
Public open houses presenting different options for the freeway are scheduled for later this year.