The City of Moose Jaw will be pushing for the provincial government it urgently put up vehicle-actuated lights at the intersection of Highway 1 and Ninth Avenue Northwest.
During city’s council’s regular meeting on Sept. 26, a resolution was passed to notify the Ministry of Highways that it supports business owners on North Service Road in asking for vehicle-actuated traffic lights at the intersection as a temporary measure until a corridor planning study can be completed.
The Sept. 26 resolution included the intersection of Thatcher Drive and Highway 1, which city council passed to add to the corridor study is completed. That passed four to three with councillors Dawn Luhning, Crystal Froese and Doug Blanc opposed.
The city sent the letter to the Ministry of Highways on Sept. 28, and received a reply on Oct. 19 saying that the ministry agrees that safety is a top priority, however, the corridor study is being completed and the concept of traffic lights at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Highway 1 will be included and considered but lights will not be installed immediately.
“We weren't prepared to wait for the corridor study because as you know that can take some time. And certainly, when we talk in September, that's probably a year away before anything can happen,” said city manager Jim Puffalt.
City council voted in favour of city administration's recommendation to communicate to the Saskatchewan Government that there is an urgent need for the safety and growth of the city for traffic lights to be installed at that intersection as soon as possible.
Froese, who sits on the provincial South Central Transportation Committee, said this intersection has been brought up as a priority numerous times to the Ministry of Highways.
“We brought this intersection for us to I think four different ministries of highways as a priority intersection and it still hasn't been addressed,” she said.
Froese added that the corridor study was first brought up in 2019 and there has been no headway made since then.
According to SGI statistics, there have been 37 collisions at that intersection since 2010 that have left 30 people injured. Most notable was in 2016 when there were seven collisions and 10 injuries. The city estimates that almost 7,000 vehicles travel through that intersection each day and this will likely grow. The city expects that to grow with projects like the Donald’s Fine Foods sow processing plant, Brandt Industries manufacturing facility and the Great Plains Power Station.
The city is expected to highlight the fact that Moose Jaw is a major economic driver for Saskatchewan and the situation will only get worse at that intersection.
“Moose Jaw is a major economic development driver for the province of Saskatchewan, and we know when it was around Regina, we built a billion-dollar overpass,” Puffalt said.
“Certainly, we think that the very least that the province could do considering the amount of activity that's going to be here in driving those traffic numbers up is to put lights at ninth and the highway.
City council will also discuss holding town hall meetings with North Service Road business owners, the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce, other municipalities, the Ministry of Highways and first responders to discuss the need for traffic lights at Highway 1 and Ninth Avenue and develop a public awareness campaign.