POP: Right-of-Way Mowing Budget

POP: Yes
Res #: POP 3-11A
Number: 3
Year: 2011
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No

WHEREAS the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure's mowing budgets have decreased substantially from past years permitting growth of grass, brush and trees in highway right-of-ways which cause safety concerns of financial liability;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to substantially increase the budget for mowing ditches adjacent to Provincial Highways, thereby allowing full right-of-way mowing which will reduce the safety issues associated with wildlife accidents.

Response from Honourable Jim Reiter, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure:
In response to Point of Privilege No. 3-11A regarding the Right-of-Way MowingBudget, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) aims to deliver an effective mowing program that improves the safety of motorists through enhanced visibility and improves aesthetics for the traveling public while providing farmers and ranchers the opportunity to salvage hay for free. Like other Ministries, MHI needs to deliver all of its services in the most effective manner within the context of the current budget.  

In 2009, the Ministry conducted increased ditch mowing as a pilot program, which included a 4-metre early shoulder cut on all accessible provincial highways starting in June. This was a larger volume of early shoulder mowing compared to the current policy which includes a 4-metre early shoulder cut on Saskatchewan's more heavily travelled highways only.

In 2010, the Ministry evaluated the effectiveness of right-of-way mowing as a safety improvement treatment for wildlife collisions based on the 2009 pilot program. The study was not able to determine if the enhanced mowing undertaken during the 2009 pilot program did, in fact, produce a quantifiable reduction in wildlife collision rates on sections of highway prone to wildlife collisions. For the 2011 mowing season, the Ministry has allocated $2.04 million.