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Updating the Saskatchewan Passing Lane Design Guide for Planning and Prioritization Purposes


Over the past five to ten years, Saskatchewan has seen above average vehicular and truck traffic growth in a number of areas throughout the province. This increase in traffic, coupled with public safety concerns, has led the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) to investigate the implementation of passing lanes on its two-lane highways as a way to improve overall traffic operations. Typically, a passing lane is a third lane added to a two-lane highway in level or rolling terrain for the exclusive purpose of providing additional passing opportunities where passing is otherwise limited by sight distance and opposing traffic. This can improve overall traffic operations by breaking up traffic platoons and reducing delays and collisions caused by inadequate passing opportunities. Passing lanes normally have high driver compliance, positive driver response, and may be an economically feasible solution to improve level of service and defer twinning of a highway.
MMM Group Limited (MMM) was retained by MHI to complete a passing lane location
study on Highway 10 between Regina and the Fort Qu’Appelle Valley. The study
purpose was to assess the need, configuration and existing roadway geometry of the
corridor to identify timely and cost effective passing lane locations. During the study it
was determined that the Saskatchewan passing lane design guide required updating
and MMM therefore reviewed passing lane design guidelines from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and the Transportation Association of Canada in order to gauge practices in other jurisdictions and their potential applications in Saskatchewan. Subsequently, the MHI design guide was updated to incorporate
implementation warrants based on collisions and level of service. The updated guide was used to assess passing lane systems, locations and benefits/costs on Highway 10, and eventually expanded to include the Highway 7 corridor between Saskatoon and Rosetown.
Potentially, the updated design guide could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of passing lanes for a number of highway segments throughout the provincial network. This could, in turn, lead to the development of a high level passing lane and twinning prioritization strategy for the Ministry. This paper relates the MHI passing lane design guide update to transportation planning objectives for the provincial highway network.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design - Present Challenges
Tebinka, R.
Tresek, A.
Geometric design