The Godwin slide rehabilitation

We reported earlier in the week about the award given to C. Duncan Construction. We asked for more information about their work on the Godwin slide, and this submission was shared with us. Pictures will be added to this article as they are received.




This project is an exemplary example of the skill and commitment of this company and its employees. The contract called for a constructed road to be built 20 meters from an existing slope failure. The construction was like that of any other road however the bulk of the project was the excavation of the slide. The challenge ahead of the crew was the sometimes vertical slope of the Qu’Appelle Valley. This was conquered with finesse and safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially that of first time supervisor, Thomas Selby.

The project called for 80,000m3 to be moved and 134,000m3 to be hauled with the majority of the work to be completed by Sept 30th. The various products from the slide were stockpiled into “useable for construction” and “other”. The “other” product was disposed of across from the slide filling in the valley floor. The crew were careful to maintain a safe distance from the winding Qu’Appelle River so as to not disturb water flow, contaminate river or disrupt habitats.

Once approximately ¼ of the dirt was excavated the hill began to actively slide again. All activity halted and precautions were taken to secure the safety of the people and the project while Thomas awaited a reassessment by Golder Associates Ltd. The second slide was promptly assessed and changes were made in response to the soil conditions. In the meantime Thomas moved his full crew to the far SE side of the hill, temporarily steering clear of the weakened slope. This forced the entire crew to operate in a confined space. This required precision driving, increased radio communication and alertness of every operator’s position at any given moment. Excavator operators kept in constant contact, alerting rock trucks to oncoming traffic as they blindly descended the slope to the unloading zone and then again as the rock truck approached the road from the valley floor. A successful collaborative approach to traffic adaptation and safety!

Although the actual project was only 900m of roadway the traffic accommodation entailed a 20 km detour for those traveling East/West on the valley floor. Some farmers were just starting harvest, school had begun and the bus needed access, as well as some people traveling to the local potash mines for work. The location was closed to traffic but this did not stop local peoples (and wildlife), from coming to observe the process. Those on quads were especially dangerous as they were not seen until they were pretty much under the front wheels of the machines! As a local contractor it was not difficult to personally contact the adventurous drivers to request they keep their distance. Also special mention needs to be acknowledged when it comes to adapting the work performance to the shift cycles of the miners. As previously stated the detour was extensive and our crew were mindful of the added driving time for those headed to work.

The reassessment of the second slide resulted in a new configuration for the NE slope thus creating approx., 15,000m3 increase in the dirt to be removed. Golder Associates junior engineer, Justin Dejardinis commented, “…  a great job of keeping me in the loop and being flexible with changes that had to be made …….. that were not planned for.”

The additional product was added to the SW slope of the valley. Much care was given to the sculpting of the hillside so as to make the excavation appear to be part of the natural landscape. The same can be said for the areas where the “other” product was stockpiled. An existing hillside was expanded and a ravine filled in, created to look like it was made by Mother Nature herself!

What started out under bright and dry conditions quickly became bothersome when it took longer for the morning fog to burn off and then risky with the rainfall. However with patience and proficiency the end result was, “…an excellent end product. C. DUNCAN Constr. Ltd., were very cooperative with the councils requests. Job well done!” quoted from Mr. Robert Bruce, Reeve for RM of Spy Hill No. 152.

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