Saskatchewan Highway 39

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Highway 39 shieldCanAm Highway shield

Highway 39
CanAm Highway (segment)
Route information
Maintained by Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure
& Transport Canada
Length: 263.5 km[1] (163.7 mi)
Major junctions
South end: US 52, Canada–United States border at North Portal

Hwy 18 at Estevan
Hwy 47 at Estevan
Hwy 35 at Weyburn
Hwy 13 at Weyburn

Hwy 6
North end: Hwy 1 (TCH) / Hwy 301 east of Moose Jaw
Coalfields No. 4, Estevan No. 5, Benson No. 35, Cymri No. 36, Weyburn No. 67, Scott No. 98, Caledonia No. 99, Bratt's Lake No. 129, Redburn No. 130, Pense No. 160, Moose Jaw No. 161
Major cities: Estevan, Weyburn
Highway system

Provincial highways in Saskatchewan

Hwy 38 Hwy 40
Parclo or partial cloverleaf interchange at Sk Hwy 1, the Trans-Canada Highway (east west), Sk Hwy 39 (south) and Sk Hwy 301 (north)

Highway 39 is a provincial paved undivided highway located in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan connecting North Portal and Moose Jaw in the north.[2] This is a primary Saskatchewan highway maintained by the provincial and national governments providing a major trucking and tourism route between the United States via Portal, Burke County, North Dakota, U.S.A. and North Portal, Saskatchewan.[3] On July 3, 2000, Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag officiated at the ribbon cutting ceremony opening the new duty-free shop and the twinned highway at Saskatchewan's busiest border crossing.[4] Highway 39 is one of Canada's busiest highways, facilitating transport for $6 billion in trade goods via approximately 100,000 trucks over the year.[5] The entire length of highway 39 is paved. The CanAm Highway[6] comprises Saskatchewan Highways Hwy 35, Hwy 39, Hwy 6, Hwy 3, as well as Hwy 2.[7] 44.3 miles (71.3 km) of Saskatchewan Highway 39 contribute to the CanAm Highway between Weyburn and Corinne.[8] Highway 39 is divided or twinned in two areas at North Portal as well as north of Weyburn for 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi). The junction of Hwy 39 with the Trans–Canada divided four-lane highway is done via a "Parclo" or partial cloverleaf interchange.

Travel route[edit]

Starting in the southeast is North Portal or the Port of North Portal customs which is the province's only duty-free shop.[9] Coalfields No. 4 rural municipality is dependent upon its grazing lands, oil wells and coal mining. The land on either side of the Souris River is too stony for agricultural purposes.[10] The little hamlet of Pinto comprises post office and rail siding.[11] Roche Percée, an unorganized area is named after a geophysical feature of the area.[12] Short Creek Cairn is near the Roche Percee turn off from Highway 39. Located just off of Sk Hwy 39, are two arches created by limestone rocks upon which historic animals, and initials are carved. The local first nation found this site to be a power centre. This Short Creek Cairn is also a resting place for the North-West Mounted Police in 1874 on the Great March West. Henri Julien of the NWMP ride wrote in 1874, that the base was 140 ft 0 in (42.67 m) and about 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m) high. Although the underground coal mines which lined the Souris River valley have closed, there are two large dragline surface coal mines still operating supplementing agricultural income for residents of Bienfait and Roche Percée.[13]

Estevan, and the Estevan Coalfield, along the Souris River, viewed from the Space Shuttle, February 2001

Estevan, the power center and eighth largest city of Saskatchewan offers tours of the Rafferty Dam, Boundary Dam Power Station, Boundary Dam Mine, the Shand Power Station and Shand Greenhouse. The city of Estevan is nicknamed Saskatchewan's Energy Capital, as it is provided with coal, natural gas, and oil resources. Prairie Mines & Royalty Ltd. (PMRL) operates the two large coal mines, The Boundary Dam Mine and Bienfait Mine supplying 6.1 million cubic tons of coal to the Shand Power Station and Boundary Dam Power Station.[14] Estevan Heritage Walking Tour and the Historic Driving Tour through the Souris Valley brochures are both available at the Saskatchewan Visitor Information booth. Woodlawn Regional Park features the Souris Valley Theatre which puts on live plays.[15]

Weyburn, the opportunity city, has also been dubbed the Soo Line City due its connection with Chicago on the Soo Line of the Canadian Pacific Railway CPR.[16] The city of 9,433[17] people is situated on Sk Hwy 35, Sk Hwy 39, and Sk Hwy 13.[18] The small towns of Exon and Converge have been absorbed into the city of Weyburn today.[19] The Pasqua branch or the Souris, Arcola, Weyburn, Regina CPR branch, Portal Section CPR on the Soo Line, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Shaunavon, Lethbridge section CPR, The Brandon, Marfield, Carlyle, Lampman, Radville, Willow Bunch sectionCNR, and the Regina, Weyburn, Radville, Estevan, Northgate section CNR have all run through Weyburn.[20] Weyburn is located astride the Williston geological Basin which contains oil deposits, and several wells operate in the vicinity.[18] Weyburn features roadside attractions of a large Lighthouse Water Tower, Wheat sheaves and Prairie Lily.[21] Weyburn is situated near the upper delta of the 470-mile (760 km) long Souris River. The Souris River continues southeast through North Dakota eventually meeting the Assiniboine River in Manitoba.[16] In the 19th century this area was known as an extension of the Greater Yellow Grass Marsh. "Extensive flood control programs have created reservoirs, parks and waterfowl centres along the Souris River."[18] Between 1988 and 1995, the Rafferty-Alameda Project was constructed to alleviate spring flooding problems created by the Souris River.[22]

Rouleau was the host town for the popular Canadian sitcom, Corner Gas, which is airing its final season in Canada. The show was set in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan.[23]

Near the northern terminus is Moose Jaw, also called "Little Chicago". Moose Jaw, is a city of 32,132 at the Sk Hwy 1 Trans–Canada and Sk Hwy 2 intersection.[24] Capone's Car, Moose Family and Mac the Moose are all large roadside attractions of Moose Jaw.[25] Moose Jaw Trolley Company (1912) is still an operating electric cable trolleys offering tours of Moose Jaw. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort,[26] Tunnels of Moose Jaw,[27] and History of Transportation Western Development Museum.[28] are major sites of interest of this city.[29] The juncture of Moose Jaw and Thunder Creek produced the best source of water for steam engines, and Moose Jaw became the CPR divisional point.[30] AgPro Inland Grain Terminal operated by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.[31] These large capacity concrete grain terminals are replacing the smaller grain elevators which were numerous along the highway, sentinels of most communities along the route. Improved technology for harvest, transport and road construction have made the large inland terminals more viable economically.[32] The rural governing body around Moose Jaw is Moose Jaw No 161 which serves 1,228 residents (2006 census) which includes the Moose Jaw, Canadian Forces Base. Meat-processing plants, salt, potash, urea fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia and ethanol producers abound in this area with easy transport access to the Trans–Canada Highway.[24][33]


The railways would not build across the western frontier without settlement as it would be too costly to provide train service across a barren wilderness. The Clifford Sifton immigration policy encourages settlers to arrive. Western settlement began and immigration encroached across the Manitoba and United States borders into the North West Territories which later became Saskatchewan. Immigration settlement to the last best west and the early highways began in the south east. The Federal Government survey crew reached this south eastern area of the District of Assiniboia, North West Territories in 1880. In 1881, the province of Manitoba expanded to its present boundaries and land could be purchased for $10.00 an acre.[34] President Lincoln's U.S. Homestead Act was passed in 1862 and lands there were taken. In 1872, Canada passed the Dominion Lands Act attracting homesteaders to the West.[35]

Saskatchewan Provincial Highway 39 paralleled the headwaters of the Souris River as well as the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) along the south eastern portion of its route. The highway traverses a course on a diagonal from south east to north west. The road followed the early surveyed road allowances made by the Provincial Highway 39, the precursor of the Saskatchewan Highway 39 followed the surveyed grade of the CPR or Soo Line between the United States border and east of Moose Jaw. Travel along Provincial Highway 39 before the 1940s would have been traveling on the square following the township road allowances, barbed wire fencing and rail lines. As the surveyed township roads were the easiest to travel, the first highway was designed on 90 degree right angle corners as the distance traversed the prairie along range roads and township roads.[36]

With the establishment of settlements and population came the attendant need for education, health, fire and police protection and an urgent need to improve methods of travel. The North West Territories established Departments which did not last long, and were soon replaced by a rural administrative system called Local Improvement Districts (LID). Local Improvement Districts were very large, and with the early dirt trails for roads, and a limited number of automobiles, the area was found much to large to administer. The L.I.D. soon gave way to the rural municipality system of rural civic administration and encompassed on average 9 townships, 3 x 3 in area, which were each 6 miles (9.7 km) square, and with some modifications is still the rural administration in use today. A rural municipality (R.M.) was an elected governing system providing essential services such as police, fire, health, education and infrastructure services for rural residents. For example, L.I.D. 64 was the precursor of Brock No. 64 in the district of Assiniboia, North West Territories. Historically, community residents could pay taxes or supply a couple days per quarter section labour constructing roads, bridges, and fireguards instead of paying taxes. This civic government with its elected officials attended to the maintenance and construction of the early pioneer road. Two horse then eight horse scrapers maintained these early dirt roads.

"The final meeting of the joint L. I. D.'s was held on November 5, 1910. By now taxes were up to $8.00 per quarter section. During the last few years of the L.I.D. Government a few changes began to take place. The road work day was reduced from ten to eight hours. The first grader was bought on March 31, 1906. Further road machinery was purchased, drag scrapers at $7,25 each and wheel scrapers at $51.00 each. Road overseers were also weed inspectors. In 1908, each Township received $100.00 for road work. Farmers were paid $30.00 an acre for land used for road building.... Road appropriations for 1927 were $2,500.00 for each Division with a tax rate of 6 mills... In 1928, the R. M.[Rural Municipality of Estevan No. 5] purchased a Holt 60 Caterpillar tractor and a 12-foot grader for $9,200.00. Road building now cost $103.00 a mile. The next year an elevating grader was purchased for $2,425.00. In 1930... Construction began on Highway 39."-A Tale That is Told: Estevan 1890 - 1980.[37]

By 1940 Hwy 39 is shown on maps as traveling on the diagonal and straightened, no longer is the road depicted on the square.[38] However, a close up of a 1955 map, shows still a right angle segment of the highway near Corinne as well as the highway south of Estevan to North Portal.[39]

In 1947 and 1948, the highway was paved from North Portal to its junction with Hwy 6 at Corinne.[40] However, the paved surface fell into disrepair within a few years; a Leader-Post reporter wrote in 1953 that "practically the entire road, from North Portal through to Corinne is just a mass of large gaping potholes, ruts, and cracks, and in some places the hard surface is gone completely."[40] Saskatchewan Motor Transport association director A.R. Mang blamed the poor condition of the road on a failure to place a suitable "base course", a layer of gravel and clay, between the pavement and the road's earthen base.[41] A 1955 map shows that a segment between Estevan and Lang had reverted to gravel[39] and a 1956 highway map shows the entire segment between Weyburn and Estevan as a gravel highway.[42] These maps also show the segment between Corinne and the junction with the Trans Canada Highway as gravel. Repairs were carried out at considerable expense,[43] but the situation required temporary bans on heavy traffic[44] and the rerouting of traffic along nearby roads.[40][43]

Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag announced a highway resurfacing for Hwy 39 for the summer of 2001.[45] Highways and Transportation Minister Mark Wartman announced a highway resurfacing for Highway 39 in 2003.[3] Prime Minister Chrétien and Premier Calvert announced a highway improvement to be completed for Highway 39 by the year 2007. This highway improvement saw the highway twinned at North Portal for easy access to the new duty-free shop.[5] A trade group called the Soo Line Corridor Association advocates twinning much of Hwy 39 and part of Hwy 6 to create a continuous twinned corridor stretching from Regina to North Portal to boost Saskatchewan's trade with the United States.[46] Premier Calvert had expressed interest in the proposal[47] but no action has been taken to implement it.

CanAm Highway[edit]

The 71.7 kilometres (44.6 mi) segment between Weyburn and Corinne is designated as a portion of the CanAm Highway. Near Corinne, Hwy 39 is concurrent with Hwy 6, at Corinne, the CanAm Highway continues north on Hwy 6. South of Weyburn the CanAm Highway crosses the United States Canada border via Hwy 35. "The projects on Highways 39 and 6 will help to improve traffic flow through these Canada/U.S. ports. 'Highways 6 and 39 are very important to Saskatchewan – serving as tourism links and major north-south trade corridors to the U.S.,' Sonntag said."[48]

Major intersections[edit]

From south to north.

Rural municipality Location km[1] mi Destinations Notes
Continues as US 52 south – Minot, Jamestown, Fargo
Coalfields No. 4 North Portal 0.0 0.0 Canada – United States border
1.1 0.68 Hwy 604 north
  10.9 6.8 Hwy 703 west
20.2 12.6 Crosses Souris River
Estevan No. 5 23.8 14.8 Roche Percee Access Road – Roche Percee
27.0 43.5 Hwy 18 east – Oxbow, Carnduff Hwy 18 concurrency begins
33.2 20.6 Estevan Bypass west
City of Estevan 38.3 23.8 Hwy 18 west / Hwy 47 south (Souris Avenue) – Torquay, Coronach, U.S. border Hwy 18 concurrency ends
Hwy 47 concurrency begins
38.8 24.1 Hwy 47 north (13th Avenue) – Stoughton, Grenfell, Melville Hwy 47 concurrency ends
Estevan No. 5 44.4 27.6 Estevan Bypass east
Benson No. 35
No major junctions
Cymri No. 36 Midale 80.1 49.8 Hwy 702 east
80.8 50.2 Hwy 606 – Torquay, Fillmore
Halbrite 95.0 59.0 Hwy 705
City of Weyburn 122.0 75.8 16th Street
123.5 76.7 Crosses Souris River
124.0 77.1 CanAm Highway.svg Hwy 35 (Government Road) – Francis, Tribune, U.S. border CanAm Hwy follows Hwy 35 south
CanAm Highway.svg CanAm Highway segment begins
126.5 78.6 Hwy 13 (Red Coat Trail) – Stoughton, Carlyle, Assiniboia
Weyburn No. 67 McTaggart 137.7 85.6 Milestone Street
Scott No. 98 Yellow Grass 150.7 93.6 Hwy 621 north – Lewvan Hwy 621 concurrency begins
  152.7 94.9 Hwy 621 south Hwy 621 concurrency begins
Lang 170.7 106.1 Main Street
Caledonia No. 99 Milestone 184.1 114.4 Hwy 710
191.5 119.0 Hwy 6 south – Ceylon, Minton Hwy 6 concurrency begins
Bratt's Lake No. 129 Corinne 194.4 120.8 Hwy 334 west – Avonlea
195.2 121.3 CanAm Highway.svg Hwy 6 north – Regina Hwy 39 branches west
Hwy 6 concurrency ends
CanAm Hwy and N.H.S. Core Route follow Hwy 6 north
CanAm Highway.svg CanAm Highway segments ends
Redburn No. 130 Wilcox 204.0 126.8 Main Street
Rouleau 221.4 137.6 Hwy 714 east Home of Corner Gas at Dog River
225.8 140.3 Hwy 623 south – Truax Hwy 623 concurrency begins
227.6 141.4 Hwy 623 north – Pense, Lumsden Hwy 623 concurrency ends
Drinkwater 240.8 149.6 Main Street
Pense No. 160   250.6 155.7 Hwy 339 south / Hwy 642 north – Claybank, Avonlea
Moose Jaw No. 161   263.5 163.7 Hwy 1 (TCH) – Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current
Hwy 301 north – Buffalo Pound Provincial Park
Terminus at a "Parclo" , a partial cloverleaf, half diamond.[49]
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


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  34. ^ (Anderson 1998:50)
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  38. ^ "Official road map of Western Canada 1940". Shell. H.M. Gousha Company, Chicago Ill. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  39. ^ a b "The Atlas of Canada - Major Roads, 1955". Natural Resources Canada, Earth Sciences Sector, Geomatics Canada. Government of Canada. 2004-07-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  40. ^ a b c Wenger, Pete (1953-06-24). "Cratered, cracked surface of highway 39 irks public". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  41. ^ Mang, A.R. (1953-09-10). "Sub-grade carries the load". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. p. 15. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
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  43. ^ a b "Per mile cost of highway 39 exceeds Trans-Canada figure". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. 1955-09-08. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  44. ^ "Temporary repair work improves No. 39 highway". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. 1952-04-24. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  45. ^ Government of Saskatchewan. "RESURFACING SET FOR HIGHWAY 39". Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  46. ^ "Group wants better U.S. connection". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  47. ^ "Premier likes Soo Line twinning plan". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  48. ^ "Saskatchewan NDP articles". Improving Highways - Weyburn Estevan Area. 2004-03-03. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  49. ^ Dan Dan the Man. "The Cloverleaf Interchange". Where Roads Meet the cloverleaf and beyond... Retrieved 2008-04-24. The Parclo interchange pictured at ON 407 and Britannia Road East, west of Toronto, Ontario is the same interchange used at Trans Canada Hwy 1 and Hwy 39.

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
Preceded by
U.S. Route 52
Highway 39 Succeeded by
Highway 301