Rural Integrated Roads for Growth
Res #: 7-23M
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways
WHEREAS the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program Policy Manual states in Section 4: Road Program, Policy 2: Road Design Requirements, Point 3 “The design of the roadway shall meet the following requirements:
a) minimum design speed of 90km/h;
b) minimum road top width of 8.6m, crowned with a cross slope of 3 to 4%;
c) minimum right-of-way of 42m.
i) the right-of-way shall be purchased and cleared;
ii) the roadway centreline shall be located on the centre of the 42m right-of-way.”
WHEREAS the majority of municipalities would never meet these requirements for funding.
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM work with the Department of Highways to amend requirements under the RIRG program to allow a minimum top width of 8 meters and roads to be improved on existing right of ways.
Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways
December 8, 2023
The Ministry of Highways helps support municipal road infrastructure through the Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program. This program, which is funded by the ministry and administered by SARM, provides opportunities for road authorities to be reimbursed for a portion of the cost of planning, constructing, and maintaining rural municipal transportation infrastructure that supports economic growth and aligns with provincial interests.
Minimum design standards are required to ensure that the provincial funding provided through the RIRG program is invested in safe roads that support the regional economy: Roads that receive RIRG funding must be able to safely accommodate heavy trucks traveling at high speeds. The design standards, which are based on both science and experience, have proven to be effective on similar roads across many different jurisdictions over many years.
The minimum road top width of 8.6m provides enough room for trucks to maneuver safely in both directions on high-speed roads. It also provides space for emergency maneuvers and room to pull off to the side if required. The minimum right-of-way width of 42m is required to maintain a clear zone beside the road for safety, and to fit the entire cross-section of the road (including ditch and backslope) within the right-of-way.
The road design requirements were reviewed by a consultant earlier this year to ensure that they are still appropriate for the RIRG program. The consultant noted similar design requirements in other jurisdictions and recommended that RIRG retain the existing requirements for road top width and right-of-way. The RIRG Program Management Board (PMB), which includes representatives from the ministry and SARM, voted in favour of retaining the design requirements for RIRG funded road projects.
The PMB recognizes that there are situations where it may be difficult to meet these standards on short segments of a road due to physical constraints. RMs can apply for exceptions in these cases, and they will be submitted to a technical committee for review. Exceptions will only be granted on short segments where there are no other options, and not for the sole purpose of reducing project costs.
The PMB will continue to periodically review the RIRG program policies, including the road design requirements. RIRG has an official feedback mechanism (firstname.lastname@example.org ) where RMs can provide comments and suggestions, which can then be brought to the PMB and considered during program reviews.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to this resolution.
The Honourable Lori Carr – Minister of Highways, Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways