Moose Javians were invited to an information session on the upcoming construction on Highway 363 (9th Avenue SW) yesterday at the Moose Jaw Events Centre. 

The session covered information on the work that needs to be done in the area, including the heritage work and timeline for roadwork.  

Gordon Biden, who lives on the south side of the city, explained why he attended. “I work at 15 Wing, so I drive that road four times a day, every day, for the last 17 years, so I want to find out how they’re going to fix it, how long it’s going to take, and what the detour situation is going to be.” 

The area has seen an increase in landslide activity since 2016 and needs to have a berm installed at the bottom of the embankment to prevent the slope from sliding further.  

Allan Korejbo, archaeologist with Respect Heritage Consulting, said that the area has also been known to be of archaeological significance since at least the 1950s, and is a known pottery site. “For the sites that are known in Saskatchewan, I would probably say it’s the top 10 sites.” 

A Heritage Resource Impact Assessment (HRIA) was done last year to determine the area's scientific importance, with artifacts found including tools made of bone and stone, and pre-contact pottery. 

Pre-impact archaeological excavations are expected to last through this summer. “The phase that we’re doing now is more of a mitigation stage,” explained Korejbo. 

“We know that there’s important archaeological material there, and what we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be going in there this year, and we’re going to be excavating it scientifically and recovering as much information as we can about this site before it becomes unavailable.” 

Matt Stephenson, design director with the Ministry of Highways, explained the necessity of construction in the area. “The landslide will continue to progress if we don’t do anything, so we’re working on this project to get the berm put in place, which will then mitigate the landslide, and then we’ll come in afterwords and do the road repair.” 

To avoid bird nesting and to give time for archaeological work to be completed, construction on the berm is expected to take place this fall, with no traffic detours expected to be needed.  

After berm construction at the bottom of the embankment, road rehabilitation is scheduled for spring 2025.