Ditch Mowing

Res #: 10-21A
Number: 10
Year: 2021
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure

WHEREAS ditches adjacent to Provincial Highways need to be mowed early in the season as well as the fall to control vegetation growth; and

WHEREAS this uncontrolled vegetation growth on Provincial Highway right of ways is an ideal harborage for wildlife; and

WHEREAS the compensation paid per hectare to municipalities has decreased significantly since 2015 for fees and expenses incurred when entering into a mowing agreement with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM approach the Ministry of Highways to recommend that mowing in the Provincial ditches be completed earlier in the season in order to control vegetation growth; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Highways to increase the compensation paid per hectare to municipalities for fees and expenses incurred.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure

May 14, 2021

The Ministry of Highways (MoH) is responsible for maintaining 26,000 kilometres of provincial road highways and takes a strategic approach to its annual mowing program.

Mo H’s ditch mowing program works in conjunction with the hay salvage program which allows farmers the opportunity to salvage hay anytime during the spring or summer months; this helps provide a neat appearance, improved visibility, control of brush and noxious weed growth and adequate snow storage in ditches during the winter.

In 2021, we enhanced our mowing to include a shoulder cut for all Level of Service (LOS) 1 and LOS 2 roads between June 7 to July 15 (Stage I Mowing). All four-lane divided highways will receive a full cut, the remainder of the LOS 1 network roads will receive three passes, LOS 2 roads will receive two passes and LOS 3 roads will receive a shoulder cut between July 15 to October 15 (Stage II Mowing). The Stage II Mowing start date may be extended to August 15 in the contract special provisions if it is found that there is too much second growth which then requires a third cut. The timing of the mowing depends on the contractor’s schedule.

These mowing dates allow MoH to better utilize the allocated budget for the mowing program and avoid performing an early cut when there is not enough growth in ditches and minimize the need for additional cuts late in the season.

MoH’s practice is to enter into a contract with interested Rural Municipalities (RM), provided that costs are in line with private sector bidding (average bid price per hectare) and the RM complies with MoH mowing standards. MoH utilizes the current year’s provincial average award price for publicly tendered mowing contracts as the rate for mowing delivered by RMs. MoH has reviewed mowing delivered by RMs and approved a 2021 mowing rate of $63.00 per hectare for all RM delivered mowing. This increase is 10 per cent higher than the 2020 provincial average price and recognizes the improved quality and cost savings that MoH realizes when the mowing program is delivered by the local municipality.

The Honourable Fred Bradshaw – Minister of Highways, Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure