10/31/2012 06:03 EDT | Updated 12/31/2012 05:12 EST

Saskatchewan Speeding Fines Hiked On Highway Construction Zones

REGINA - Putting the pedal to the metal in highway construction zones is getting more costly for Saskatchewan drivers.

Starting Thursday, the province is increasing the base fine for drivers caught speeding in the orange zone from $140 to $210. There will be an added charge of $3 for every kilometre a driver goes over 60 km/h, and a $6 charge for every kilometre over 90 km/h.

The province also said that starting this fall, rumble strips and gates narrowing approaches to construction zones will be used to slow down traffic on major highway projects.

"What we have seen is people aren't necessarily slowing down, so is it that they're not noticing it? Gates and rumble strips are used in other provinces and so they have been effective," said Highways Minister Don McMorris.

"These are, you'd call them traffic calming structures, that hopefully draw people's attention to the seriousness."

The tougher rules come after Ashley Richards, 18, was struck and killed on her first day as a highway flag person in August.

The Saskatchewan Party government said in the throne speech last week that it will allow police to use photo radar in construction zones and increase the fines.

The speech said: "Fines for speeding through construction zones will be increased to triple the normal penalty." The current base penalty for speeding in a construction zone is $140. However, the government said Thursday that by normal penalty, it meant a tripling of the $70 fine for speeding in general.

The NDP said Thursday that it welcomed the tougher rules, but it wasn't happy with the confusion on the new fines.

"New Democrats believe strongly that increased penalties for speeding in orange zones is a good way to protect highways workers," said Danielle Chartier, the NDP critic for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).

"We are disappointed to learn that the Sask. Party's extensively publicized plan to triple orange zone speeding fines was overblown PR. Changing the fine from to $210 from $140 is not tripling the penalty, by my math, and we think that people expected a stronger change."