Res #: 24-18M
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure
WHEREAS ditches adjacent to provincial highways are mowed after June 15 each year;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM approach the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to encourage mowing of provincial highway ditches earlier in the year to provide improved wildlife visibility, which may result in fewer accidents, fewer injuries, and less expense to the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Agency.
Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure
October 6, 2022
The ministry uses a strategic approach that focuses on improving safety, visibility at curves and intersections, and aesthetics for the citizens and tourists travelling on provincial highways while providing farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to salvage hay for free.
The ministry annually reviews its ditch mowing program, and I was pleased with the enhanced mowing budget allotment of an additional $455,000 being approved for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The annual hay salvage and mowing program provides many benefits by considering the needs of area landowners, producers and motorists. The hay salvage and mowing program strikes a balance by combining the needs of different groups and delivering a cost-effective program.
Cutting grass along provincial highways provides many benefits as it optimizes snow storage in ditches, reducing drifting on the road surface during winter. At the same time, it improves appearance and visibility while controlling brush and noxious weed growth.
The ministry delivers the mowing program with the assistance of contractors. In the 2022-23 fiscal year, approximately 41,000 hectares were tendered. The first cut began in June 2022 and focused on the northern region. The second cut of mowing began as early as July 15, 2022. Mowing in the west central and southwest regions including Swift Current and North Battleford districts, began August 15, 2022. This allows additional time to salvage hay in anticipation of below-normal moisture conditions.
The Honourable Jeremy Cockrill – Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure