The most expensive stretch of flat road in Canadian history was completed today.
But before the Sask. Party pops the bubbly, it's worth reminding people of the scandal-plagued, flawed process that left us holding the bag for an almost $2 billion stretch of road:
- The Regina Bypass was originally projected to cost $400 million. At a final price tag of $1.88 billion, the project exceeded initial estimates by almost $1.5 billion.
- The Sask. Party’s decision to hire a French conglomerate froze out local contractors, funneling public money out of the province.
- Costs rose significantly to accommodate the scandal-plagued Global Transportation Hub. Bill Boyd, then-Minister of the GTH, pushed for expensive accommodations to the build to benefit the major tenant of the GTH, claiming that there was a “commitment” to build an interchange guaranteeing "free-flow access." There is no evidence such a commitment was ever made.
- Over 1,100 minor deficiencies have so far been detected in the build. The Sask. Party redacted the list of major deficiencies, but indicated that the breaching of an aquifer was one.
- Truckers and farmers found the Regina Bypass roundabouts too small to navigate.
- When a truck got stuck in a roundabout and diverted traffic was stranded in Balgonie due to a blocked exit, it took more than 12 hours for the conglomerate to respond.
- Then-Deputy Minister to the Premier Alanna Koch dismissed the frustrations of Balgonie residents over the truck issue as “urban myth hysteria.”
- The bypass is owned on behalf of the public by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, with design, construction, operations, maintenance and snow removal to be performed by the private conglomerate for the next 30 years.
“Should we really celebrate the fact that the Sask. Party paid a French company to build the most expensive stretch of flat road in Canadian history?” asked NDP Critic for the Regina Bypass Cathy Sproule. “We paid through the nose to accommodate a Global Transportation Hub that’s now a ghost town, and we sent most of that money out of province. More money, more problems — that’s the story of this build, start to finish.
“We could have put people first by building this road with our workers and our companies. Instead, the Sask. Party has let people down yet again with their entitlement.”