City of Swift Current working on the roads: be smart (X2)

By Ryan Dahlman

There’s just no pleasing people. 

For the longest time, the complaint has been about Swift Current’s roads is that they are rough, they are lots of potholes and people need better. Spoiler alert: that’s the complaint of every town or city on the prairies. 

“There are potholes as big as craters”, “it’s an automotive mechanics’ bodyshops’ dream” and any other sarcastic analogy is out there. 

Pothole patching began in earnest at the start of May. 

National Public Works Week was from May 21-27 so perhaps this is a good time recognize all of those in that sector. In 1960, municipalities began to celebrate their employees and recognize National Public Works Week.

It is important to have drivable roads. The frustration for drivers who hit potholes causing major damage to tires, suspension systems etc. and perhaps being the source of the occasional accident, is infinitely maddening. And if City Council is asking for 3.99 property tax increase for 2023, there needs to be betterment somewhere like infrastructure (aka roads).

According to CAA Saskatchewan, “Canadian drivers pay an average of $112 per vehicle per year in higher vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on poor-quality roads? This adds up to more than $1,000 over a 10-year lifespan of a car. The cost for drivers in Saskatchewan is around $88. (Source: CPCS analysis). The extra cost imposed by poor roads varies by province and is generally higher in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec drivers pay more than $200 in increased operating costs per year, while drivers in western provinces pay less than $100.”

So if you think you have it bad, it could be worse. 

So when patch jobs don’t work, major projects are needed. In the 2023 budget: three major projects pop up: North Service Road: Central‐Memorial Drive: Surface rehabilitation on North Service Road from Central Ave to Memorial Dr. which may include additional lane, curbing, etc. This project is dependent on grant funding (Cost is $250,000); Paved Street Rehabilitation Annual rehabilitation program to overlay and reconstruct deteriorated paved streets throughout the City ($800,000); South Service Road: George St‐Memorial Drive, Surface rehabilitation on South Service Rd.; may include additional lane, curbing, etc. This project is dependent on grant funding. ($250,000). 

Three projects: $1.3 million, poof, gone. 

Having a father who worked on the Saskatchewan Department of Highways for nearly 40 years and the local rural municipality for another five, summer is a challenging time of year as road construction and maintenance staff have to work extra hard on the roads trying to fill in as many holes crevasses with hot tar, asphalt and gravel as quickly as possible. It’s expensive and road maintenance from planning to execution is a very daunting and pragmatic task. 

Due to staffing, time and budgeting there’s only so much they can get to, so have a little bit of patience and understanding. These hard working souls are the same as you, they live and don’t like delays getting to their destinations any more than you do but what they do know, is what is entailed in fixing roads and fixing them properly. 

There is a lot that goes into fixing roads than just getting out there and doing it. Budgeting for labour and figuring out where to get the cheapest materials and supplies without it being so cheap that the asphalt holds no better than a terrible cheesecake base.  Then you have to figure out the priorities knowing full well that the ones you don’t pick are the ones that everyone will scream about the most.

Then you have to figure out a sequence so you are not completely clogging up a neighbourhood or a normal traffic route. 

“We’re excited to bring the public’s attention to construction season, after a very long winter. We want to ensure that residents are prepared for work zones. Traffic can be affected, streets can be temporarily closed, lanes restricted, or pathways affected depending on the project, but there will be ample communication ahead of time and on-site signage to guide people through the construction,” explained Mitch Minken, General Manager of Infrastructure & Operations.

See, he’s not trying to make your life miserable. Just trying to save you the three or four digit vehicle repair bill so if you are a city driver, you’re not having to take off-road driving lessons on YouTube. 

In case you are caught off guard on getting to your destination, that is on you. Go to the Construction Updates page on the City’s website at and double check your intended route and whether you can have an alternate plan… maybe do that while you are not driving and trying to navigate your vehicle and looking on your phone simultaneously. 

So if you see Minken, or know anyone of the City of Swift Current workers and you see them around town, maybe instead of giving them grief, give them some gratitude. Maybe more importantly, when you are driving by, slow down to the posted speed limit so everyone get home (on the newly repaired roads) safely. 

Ryan Dahlman is the general manager and the managing editor of the Southwest Booster