The Regina Highway #1 Bypass – What Is The Real Story? That is the 1.88 Billion Dollar Question.
We all agree a bypass is needed for East Regina, but it appears the Wall Government does not foresee Regina having any growth in the future beyond the planned developments along Tower Road. The function of a bypass is, by definition, to route traffic AROUND the City, not simply deliver it neatly to the nearest mall. According to the Highways Department, 5000 trucks per day enter Regina from the east. Each truck equals the space of 5 cars: 5000 trucks equal the space of 25,000 cars. If we could get the majority of these trucks off the roads in East Regina, it would alleviate the traffic congestion. It seems to us that the Department of Highways and the Minister of Highways are not singing from the same songbook when they are in the media or in actual practice. Their actions are far different than the publicity in at least six key areas:
•The Government says that TRAFFIC CONCERNS WILL BE ADDRESSED WITH THE TOWER ROAD LOCATION, however only 10% of the 5000 trucks per day coming into East Regina will be diverted south. The roads will still take a beating, and the commuters and tourists will still be contending with the truckers attempting to negotiate their way to their destinations inside the city. There will be a new light at Tower Road, and 4500 trucks a day will still be coming into Regina.
•The Government says that SAFETY CONCERNS ON THE HIGH SPEED CURVED ROADS OVER THE RAILWAY TRACKS HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED AT TOWER ROAD AND HIGHWAY #1 LOCATION. Did you know that the tightness of the curves at the Tower Road to Highway #1 connection will be twice as sharp as the Belle Plaine over pass? Can you imagine the safety issues with that during our 6 months of wintry weather and in high winds, frost and icy conditions with a large semi beside you (safety…safety…).
•The Government says that FAIR MARKET VALUE WILL BE PAID TO THOSE LOSING THEIR HOMES AND LANDS, however it appears that artificially low prices have been quoted to establish land values, and people are not getting offers considered fair. Apparently the Planner hired to work on the RM of Sherwood’s Community Plan has determined that the Government is utilizing Community Planning policies to ensure that all land use is converted to agricultural, thereby suppressing the true market value. Artificially lowering land values and cherry picking low agricultural sales figures is not establishing fair market value to those affected, much like what continues to happen to those expropriated when the Global Transportation Hub was built.
•The Government says that they consulted with stakeholders, but all that we have spoken with have said they were not consulted so much as TOLD: no input was allowed or encouraged, and the decision was made long before someone came by to check `consultations’ off the list. One party even hired their own engineer who presented a better alternative to the Provincial Government which would save taxpayers over one hundred million dollars, but they were dismissed out of hand. They SAY they are listening, but it does not appear they are hearing from anyone but the well connected.
•We are concerned with the environmental and costly structural issues of going over the aquifer at the location of the interchange off Tower Road and Highway #1. It is important to note that at this specific location they will likely have structural issues and stability problems in the future due to the flowing aquifer below and the inability for engineers to guarantee long term structural stability. How much extra will this cost taxpayers?
•The Government says that this is supposed to be a 50 year solution, but with development already adjacent to Tower Road, and no northern truck route in the plans, is the city not expected to grow past this road. Will there be 4500 trucks still coming into the city for the next 50 years slowing down commuter traffic and beating up the roads. Most trucks coming into the city are heading for fuel depots and warehouses in the northeastern part of the City, but any future northern route from Tower Road is blocked by current developments.
When the government says that it will cost more to go out to Gravel Pit Road from Tower Road, they are providing an undocumented opinion, as they have never studied anything but the Tower Road option: therefore they cannot advise with accuracy what the cost difference would be. When asked to provide us with the science behind their decision, answer stakeholders and ratepayers questions, and provide the true Functional Study, the government has been less than forthright in providing any answers and released only a highly redacted Functional Study that left ratepayers with more questions. What does the government have to hide? The taxpayers are asked to foot the bill for the 1.88 billion dollar bypass, but the government is not being forthright and transparent into why they approved a short-sighted dysfunctional bypass in city limits that can only go south, not north, that will only divert 10% of the truck traffic around the city, and not relieve congestion.
THE REGINA COMMITTEE FOR AN ALTERNATIVE BYPASS SOLUTION