He has been in his new position of legislative secretary to the Ministry of Highways since June and according to MLA for Cut Knife–Turtleford Larry Doke, he is still learning the ropes.
Now, with a summer under his belt in his new role, Doke said that he has criss-crossed the province looking in at about three quarters of the provinces roads.
“I still have the south east corner to do over the next two weeks,” he said.
Doke said that on a weekly basis he reports back to Minister of Highways Nancy Heppner, on his travels and the things that he has seen out on the roads.
“We talk about the some of the difficulties that municipalities have with getting gravel and operator situations, including hiring operators and graters. Because mainly they are working in the oilpatch,” he said.
During the four months, the legislative secretary said that there has been some interesting observations.
“The (thin membrane roads) in some areas are not primary weight roads, they are secondary roads,” he said.
“They were built on not very good road bed at the time.” Usually, Doke said, the TMR are just sprayed on roads with oil and mix.
“For the most part, those TMR have stood up really well, but today’s traffic has changed since those roads were built,” he said. “There isn’t a farmer now that doesn’t have a semi or a B-train.”
Doke said some roads with tonnage weight limits are still in good shape compared to roads that don’t have the restrictions.
“We have other roads, right in the heart of oil and gas land that are beat up really bad,” he said.
Right in the riding of Lloydminster, Highway 21 has been getting some attention over the last few months, when former MLA Tim McMillan brought Heppner to the highway to show her the damage.
Doke said that he was on Highway 21, just 10 days after the minister was on that road, and he said that the road was completely repaired.
“It was patched from one end of the highway to the other with hot mix, and it was a fabulous job,” Doke said, adding that the gravel part of the highway had been bladed and was in great shape.
“I would say that in the north part of the province, the bladed gravel roads are better than anywhere.”
Doke said that he wasn’t put in this position to come up with a solution.
“I was put into this position to find out what actually is going on with our roads,” he said.
“Sometimes one person’s observations of something compared to an engineer observation may differ quite a bit. When I go to these areas, I stay for a few hours and observe what type of traffic is going on.”
Doke added that in Saskatchewan there are roads with no one on them anymore.
“It could be because of the condition of the roads,” he said.
After seeing roads in all the different parts of the province, Doke will meet with the 12 transportation planning meetings in the province.
“We are going to get their feelings on what their opinion of the roads in the province of Saskatchewan are.”