For 50 years, safety concerns have risen at the intersections of Ninth Avenue NW and Highway 1, along with Thatcher Drive and Highway 1 after numerous accidents, and could be avoided if traffic lights were installed.
On Monday night, at city hall, council voted on and passed a motion to notify the minister of Highways and Infrastructure to start the process of installing “vehicle actuated lights” on the highway as an interim solution at those intersections.
“This will provide some measure of safety to the motorists of the province as well as Moose Jaw,” says city manager, Jim Puffalt.
Moose Jaw and the Ministry of Highways have been in constant communication, voicing their concern about the safety risks those two intersections bring. For many years those two areas have been flagged as safety concerns, and because of that, the city will participate in a committee with the province.
The two parties will study the Highway #1 corridor through the city in 2022-23. In a council report, it states that a permanent interchange would be the long-term solution, but Puffalt explained that this could take some time to install.
“Those are 3-5 years with design, finding the funding and constructing. The City of Moose Jaw has waited a long time to have some kind of safety measure and waiting for Highways to determine capital construction is a long-term delay.”
Moose Jaw Mayor, Clive Tolley voiced his support of the need for traffic lights at those two intersections.
“With the expansion of Brandt Industries in the northern part of our city, we’re going to get much more truck traffic coming into the city from Thatcher Driver and the #1 Highway and simply we need a safer way for people to get in and out of the city. I’m supporting this because we’re making our stance known to the province,” says Tolley.
On Sept. 9, Tolley joined members of the North Service Road Business Community (NSRBC), councillors Doug Blanc and Crystal Froese, MLA’s Tim McLeod and Greg Lawrence and met with the Minister of Highways to go over a 23-page report that was presented to the province. The report included their case for traffic lights, comparable controlled intersections, and much more.
Councilor Froese showed her appreciation for the NSRBC and their tenacity towards the province and says their message will carry a lot of weight.
“They’re calling for the minister to do something about this right away and not delay,” explains Froese. “I know people who work on the North Service Road and who will actually drive around and avoid that intersection trying to get to and from work. That’s unacceptable, the danger is real there.”
Councilor Blanc explained in his remarks that yes it will take time to conduct the corridor study, but there needs to be immediate action taken to avoid further collisions and injuries at both intersections.
The installation of traffic lights would be 100 per cent funded by the Ministry of Highways, as Highway 1 is a national corridor and part of the city’s Urban Connector Program and is to be maintained by the province.
According to SGI statistics given to Discover Moose Jaw, there have been 37 collisions at that intersection that resulted in 30 injuries but no deaths since 2010.