Largest road construction season in Winnipeg history kicks-off

WINNIPEG – With over 200 construction projects planned city-wide, Winnipeg’s on track for a record year of road construction during the 2018 construction season. The City of Winnipeg’s 2018 budget includes a record $116 million investment for improvements to local and regional streets, back lanes, and sidewalks. In total, approximately 150 lane kilometers of improvements are scheduled this year. In addition, other major infrastructure projects such as Southwest Rapid Transitway, and the Waverley Underpass project are moving forward. As these projects are completed, it will make for a smoother ride for Winnipeggers in all areas of the city. 

“The year represents the largest investment in fixing our roads in the city’s history,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Fixing our roads has remained a key priority for me and many members of Council, and by making it a priority over the last four years we are beginning to see our investments making a difference, but more work across our city is still needed. I want to thank all Winnipeg motorists, cyclists, and businesses for their patience as we embark on a record number of road renewal projects this year.”

Investing in infrastructure, specifically fixing roads, has been consistently identified as a top priority of Winnipeggers according to research conducted by Probe Research Inc. The city’s road network is comprised of 7,300 lane kilometers and represent the City’s largest asset class comprising almost half (42%) of the City’s total asset replacement value. According to the City’s 2018 State of the Infrastructure Report, the overall road deficit has been reduced to 1.9 billion dollars from an estimated high of 3.3 billion dollars in 2009. Today, the roads deficit represents 28% of the overall deficit, down from 47% in 2009.

This year’s construction schedule reflects the first time in the city’s history that the procurement process for road infrastructure was accelerated by undertaking engineering consultant work in 2017 for road work scheduled this year. This resulted in preliminary design work being undertaken earlier, in the summer of 2017, on over $15 million of road work scheduled in this year’s capital budget, and includes regional road projects on Pembina Highway and McPhillips Street. Procuring consulting engineering services earlier was identified in a review undertaken by Public Works as an area where the procurement process could be improved and the greatest productivity gains could be realized. These improvements are being realized in this year’s road renewal program.

This year is also the first time the City has introduced Warm Mix Asphalt as part of its Thin Bitumen Overlay (TBO) program. Warm Mix Asphalt provides several advantages over Hot Mix Asphalt. The development process for Warm Mix Asphalt  reduces energy needs and associated emissions, it’s safer to handle, and it can extended the paving season by up to three weeks. It’s estimated that up to 30% of all paving work in the United States uses Warm Mix Asphalt, and the introduction of it this year by the City of Winnipeg is being done through the City’s partnership with the Municipal Infrastructure Research Chair.

With such a large volume of work being planned and coordinated, some delays and disruptions can be anticipated for Winnipeg motorists. In order to minimize the impact to traffic, each project has been evaluated on an individual basis, and work is undertaken on weekends and off-peak hours when possible. The project location, traffic volumes, local traffic and project requirements determine what specific lane restrictions are needed. Project managers also work with the City’s Transportation Management Center to reduce the impact to the travelling public where possible. 

Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, allow additional travel time to get to their destinations, use alternate routes, and download and use the Waze app for the fastest route every day.