The storm that blew through the southeast yesterday wreaked havoc on highways in the region. At various times, highways were under travel not recommended advisories, or were closed. The decision to issue those advisories is made based on the conditions seen by staff from the Ministry of Highways.  

“Everything from snow and ice on the road to, one of the big ones with this storm, visibility,” explained David Horth, Director of Communications for the Ministry of Highways, about what factors into the advisories. “The winds really kicked up, and it obscures your ability to see.” 

The fleet of 300 snow plows that go into action when there is a winter storm, along with other staff who do surveillance, report back the conditions they see on the highways to the Highway Hotline immediately. The command centre for the Highway Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the winter season, and the updates are put in immediately once received.  

“We certainly rely on them to provide us with data, and information, and observations that they have,” Horth added. He also noted these people know the roads they are reporting. 

“They travel these roads every day. They are responsible for caring for these roads, they do the upkeep on these roads, so they’re very good at what they do.” 

When the conditions get bad enough for a highway to be closed, the decision is made with safety in mind, Horth pointed out. When a highway is closed, it is no longer being maintained by the staff of the Ministry of Highways.  

“Our crews have determined it’s not safe for a snow plow operator to be out there because they can’t see the road they’re trying to plow for whatever reason – usually it’s visibility,” Horth said.  

He also cautioned for those who decide to venture out onto a highway that has been closed. 

“If someone chooses to go out on a closed road, it’s entirely possible that no one’s coming to rescue you until the conditions change.” 

You can get the latest highway conditions by checking the Discover Weyburn Road Report page.