It’s almost impossible not to notice the construction happening all around the edges of Regina, the bypass project is just over a year in and well under way.
Most of what’s been done thus far is design work, hiring teams, and moving dirt. Alisdair Dickinson is the project director, and he said in total they’re moving more than 10 million cubic metres of dirt.
“The vast majority of the overpass, the access ramps on and off the highway, the ramps up to the bridge structures – it’s all dirt that’s been moved.”
The areas they’re getting the dirt from are called “borrows,” and there are some in several different places around the city but the biggest is southeast of Tower Road and Highway 1.
It looks like a gigantic archaeological excavation or a mining operation. It’s about 35 metres deep and estimated at about 200 metres wide – though you’d never know it was there from the highway.
One and a half million cubic metres of dirt has been moved from there so far, and another 400,000 will be moved before they’re finished.
The project is just starting to look at what can be done with the borrows once they’re finished with them.
At the one year mark Dickinson said the project is on-time and on-budget.
Dickinson called the whole project a big exercise with a small window to do it in.
“It’s a challenging and complicated job and we’re got a lot of experienced people who’ve done work in this part of the world before. We know it gets cold in the winter, and we know it can get wet in the spring, you know if you plan for that then you’re in a good place.”
He also called it a good, exciting project from a civil engineering point of view.
“We’ve got a lot of young graduates actually, who have joined us from the U of S and the U of R who, this is their first project, and you know this is a really exciting project for them to be starting on.”
The total completion date is set for fall of 2019, however some things will be finished earlier.
The part of the bypass east of Regina is the priority, with substantial completion October 31, 2017. The Pilot Butte interchange is expected to be finished October 2018.
East of Regina the south service road is expected to be paved this season, and the highway is expected to have a new surface this year as well. The north service road there is also under construction.