Building A Strong Saskatchewan
Recently, when I was traveling through the intersection of 9th Avenue Northwest and Highway 1, I was reminded of my discussions with the Ministry of Highways about safety at that particular intersection.
A decision has been made to conduct an independent engineering review to look at options for Highway 1 as it passes through Moose Jaw. The review will assess safety concerns in the area around the intersection of 9th Avenue N.W. and Highway 1, as well as long-term planning for the Highway 1 and Highway 2 interchange and the intersection of Highway 1 and Thatcher Drive.
The Ministry of Highways will be working with key stakeholders including the City and RM of Moose Jaw, while collecting input from the public. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a firm date has not been set for the conclusion of the work.
The 2020 highway construction season will begin with extra infection control measures in place to keep workers healthy. The 2020-21 Spending Estimates include nearly $648 million to improve safety and increase the capacity of our highways. Saskatchewan’s new Growth Plan includes a target to build and upgrade 10,000 kilometers of highways over the next decade.
Locally, Highway 2 north toward Buffalo Pound Lake is safer and more convenient for travelers with passing lanes constructed last summer. Work continues to improve safety at the intersection of Kalium Road and Highway 1.
Safety on Saskatchewan highways is always a priority of our Government. The upcoming Victoria Day long weekend is usually one of the busiest times on our highways. As with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that. Campgrounds will not be opening until June 1st this year, gatherings are still limited to 10 people, and non-essential travel is not yet advised.
Saskatchewan people should be commended for their efforts and commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19. As part of this focus, our government has also been looking at the best and safest ways to re-open and re-start our economy.
The first step was the release of Re-Open Saskatchewan, a methodical and staged approach to re-opening sectors of our economy. We have also announced a $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan to stimulate economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
This investment in schools, hospitals, highways and Crown utility projects, municipal infrastructure and other important capital projects is designed to build a strong Saskatchewan. This plan will balance the need for smaller, short term projects to jump-start economic activity and get people back to work quickly with longer-term, large-scale projects that leverage multiple sectors over the next several years.
As we Re-Open Saskatchewan, through the various phases, there will be more allowances for travel. Please keep safety in mind with all your summer driving. Don’t text and drive, don’t drive impaired, be prepared for delays, and always slow to 60 kilometres per hour in all designated highway construction zones. More than 1,000 kilometres of provincial highways are set to receive upgrades in 2020-21, so there will be “Orange Zones” across the province.
When considering summer plans, please continue to keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19 by following the remaining restrictions and recommended precautions. For more information and updates, visit Saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.