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Back Lanes

Back lane

The City of Saskatoon maintains over 400 kilometres of gravel back lanes. Over time, back lanes can deteriorate, forming ruts, pot holes and low spots due to an extreme change in weather conditions, regular vehicle traffic, drainage from private properties, overgrown vegetation, and large equipment. Beginning late spring or early summer, City crews grade all gravel back lanes by neighbourhood. Professional arborists will return to trim excessive overhanging branches and vegetation along the back property line, as required.

Some locations qualify for capital reconstruction based on their rating in the spring city-wide condition inspection. Affected residents are notified with a black/orange notice in their mailbox.

Every year the City sets aside a budget to preserve and rehabilitate the current paved back lane network.

Maintenance Schedule
  • North Park
  • Richmond Heights
  • Sutherland
  • Forest Grove
  • Sutherland Industrial
  • Brevoort Park
  • Greystone Heights
  • College Park
  • College Park East
  • North Industrial 
  • Exhibition
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Avalon
  • Adelaide/Churchill
  • Eastview
  • Nutana Park
  • Nutana
  • Buena Vista
  • Varsity View
  • Haultain
  • Grosvenor Park
  • Holliston
  • River Heights
  • Airport Business Area
  • Massey
  • Westview
  • Westmount
  • Confederation S.C.
  • Confederation Park
  • Mount Royal
  • Pacific Heights
  • Caswell Hill
  • Riversdale
  • Holiday Park
  • Meadowgreen
  • Pleasant Hill
  • King George
  • Montgomery
  • Hudson Bay Park
  • Mayfair
  • Kelsey Woodlawn
  • City Park
COMPLETED Neighbourhoods

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why are trees being trimmed?
One of the biggest issues in back lanes is rutting and potholes, which are normally caused by moisture. Overhanging and overgrown trees prevent the gravel in the lane from drying quickly. Some branches will also be trimmed to allow access for the maintenance equipment. Plant and landscaping material along the property line may also be removed to prevent damage from the equipment and because it can contribute to the deterioration of the lane.

What trees will be trimmed?
During the neighbourhood back lane grading, locations are identified where excessive overhanging branches and vegetation present risks for safety, access or lane condition deterioration. Tree along the property line and up to 6 feet high (within City Right-of-way) may be trimmed by professional arborists as part of the back lane maintenance. Residents may want to do their own trimming in advance of our team, to ensure they are pleased with the results.

What causes back lanes to develop ruts and potholes or poor drainage?
Over time, gravel back lanes can deteriorate due to extreme weather changes, regular vehicle traffic, drainage from private properties, overgrown vegetation, and from large equipment. The issue can get worse if top soil or other is used to fill these in.

What should people do to keep lanes in good condition?
Maintain trees and plants on your property so that they do not shade or over-hang into the back lane. Avoid adding material such as topsoil, planting or landscaping, and do not adjust the material along the property line to improve drainage. All of these actions can cause deterioration or make a situation worse.

Can my back lane be paved?
There is no funding available to pave existing gravel back lanes. In newer areas, where paved back lanes have been built, the cost was built into the purchase of the lots.

What if I don't want my back lane to be graded?
Back lane maintenance is for the benefit of the entire block. Staff are trained to adjust the current material and add as required, to restore the grade of the lane to its original design. Consideration will be given if every homeowner in a block agrees in writing to no maintenance this year, which would include accepting resulting issues.

What is the difference between "maintenance" and "reconstruction"?
All City back lanes will have maintenance, which includes tree trimming, grading and packing. Only qualifying back lanes where approved for reconstruction under the capital program.
These individual residents will receive a black/orange notice in their mailbox with details about the schedule and work occurring. Reconstruction can include include replacing mud with new gravel, removing layers of dirt and re-establishing the grade. During construction, vehicles and pedestrians are not permitted to enter the lane; and all vehicles, collection carts and debris must be removed.

How is the back lane maintenance scheduled?
The current schedule is based on the following criteria: size of neighbourhood, amount of tree trimming required in advance of maintenance, the reverse order of last year, and number of locations undergoing complete reconstruction.