Highway Ditch Mowing

Res #: 14-07M
Number: 14
Year: 2007
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Highways & Transportation

Resolution No. 14 – 07M
Highway Ditch Mowing

WHEREAS Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation contracts the one time fall mowing of provincial highway ditches;

WHEREAS the tall grass and weed growth causes dangerous and sometimes fatal situations for the traveling public and wildlife; and

WHEREAS the roadside growth results in an enormous number of vehicle/wildlife accidents and insurance claims;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Provincial Government contract the respective adjoining municipality to their highways to make one mowing pass in late June or early July to render the highways safer and esthetically more pleasing for the traveling public.

Response from Honourable D. Wayne Elhard, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure

As Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, I share the concerns expressed in Resolution No. 14-07M and believe that the proper maintenance of our provincial rights-of-way is important for public safety and aesthetics.  It is my understanding that there are currently two stages to the provincial Mowing Program; Stage I and Stage II.

Stage I mowing is conducted on the high traffic areas entering/exiting the major urban centres of Saskatoon and Regina and is conducted mainly for the reasons stated in the resolution; safety and aesthetics.  Typically, Stage I mowing occurs between June 1 and July 31, however, timing depends on the individual contractor and workloads.  In some areas, mowers are beginning their Stage 1 cut by June 1st and others have a deadline of early July.

Stage II mowing is undertaken on all other rural highways between July 8 and September 15.  Mowing may take place after this date in exceptional circumstances, such as delays due to wet weather.  The mowing is primarily intended for safety, control of noxious weeds and to optimize snow control in winter months.  The timing of the mowing is intended to strike a balance between safety, aesthetics and the desire for farmers to salvage hay from within the roadway ditches. 

The Ministry recently adopted amendments to the salvage of hay policy based on consultations with SARM and the Area Transportation Planning Committees that advanced the start date for mowing to July 8 (the previous policy had a start date of July15).  It was felt that the recent change in policy reflected a responsible balance between the desire to salvage hay and safety and aesthetics.  If SARM wishes to further advance the start date, the Ministry is prepared to explore earlier start dates understanding the impact this will have on farmers who wish to salvage the hay from the roadway ditches.

Regarding the resolution request to have the ministry contract mowing to rural municipalities; mowing contracts are publicly tendered. The mowing contracts are advertised in Saskatchewan daily newspapers, all the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Association papers as well as posted on the MERX Canadian Public Tender system and rural municipalities are welcome to bid on the provincial mowing contracts.