Moose Jaw city council is pushing to get funding to make repairs to Ninth Avenue Southwest between Warner Street and Valleyview Drive to the city limits.
Council voted unanimously to submit an expression of interest to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure for the Urban Highway Connector Program (UHCP), which would see the ministry pay for the next rehabilitation of the roadway if approved by the province.
This section of road has been having slope stability and slumping issues for many years, and the Ministry of Highways has been slope monitoring the road as far back as 1997.
City Manager Jim Puffalt said the roadway is now becoming a safety risk.
“There's a lot of issues with this one, but I think if anybody's been down that road you know it's a roller coaster, and certainly work needs to be done,” Puffalt said.
“We're hoping we get it to the top of the list, but again, this is up to the province. This is the first step to get city council to apply.”
The expression of interest is still in draft form as the city is waiting on the Ministry of Highways to complete of scope of the work.
Director of Engineering services Bevan Harlton explained the next steps.
“Right now, the ministry is aware that there is an issue on the east side of that road. They are working with the consultant to understand what the extent of that issue is and what has to be done to remediate it,” Harlton said.
“To me, the way I have that framed, is that that scope of work and that cost will come from Ministry of Highways resources. They will put on my desk what has to happen on that road in order to bring it up to acceptable standards and then the city will sit down and review and approve or add to that and develop a scope from there.”
Coun. Doug Blanc is in favour of moving the project forward, but had concerns that the repairs would be made and down the road to would have to be repaired again at a cost to the city.
“I know that slope has been repaired at least three times in the past, probably back to about 1975 when I started with Ministry of Highways. So, it's been an ongoing concern,” said Blanc.
Mayor Fraser Tolmie explained why he was in favour of moving the project forward.
“This section of road is very dangerous and needs to be addressed. It can catch you unaware if you're new to that area and it is the main route to the military base, one of our largest employers in the community,” he said.
UHCP was launched by the province in 2008 to provide a transparent and consistent framework to support equitable management of urban connects
“What the province was supposed to do, and part of the biggest problem that many cities have had issues with the province, is they've never funded the section of the agreement that talks about the first rehab is supposed to be done by the province. Their budget has been woefully inadequate,” said Puffalt.
Moose Jaw was one of the last cities to sign on to the UHCP in 2015 because of issues in Regina where roadways that were provincial jurisdiction were repaired and turned back to the city and became the city’s responsibility for the long term.
In this case, city administration confirmed that is city jurisdiction, but the province would be supplying the funding if approved.
Moose Jaw already has two projects that have already been approved through the UHCP. The rehabilitation of the North Service Road has already been completed, and Main Street North from the Canadian Tire entrance to Highway 1 will begin repairs in 2022.