Manitoba is getting closer to achieving its goal of building up the road system between CentrePort Canada and the American border to U.S. Interstate standards.
On Friday, the province announced its road- and bridge-construction plans for the coming year, including some key Perimeter Highway improvements and the completion of CentrePort Canada Way, a new roadway linking the CentrePort transportation hub on the northwest edge of the city with national and international highways.
Upgrading the Perimeter Highway, which is starting to show its age, is a key to developing CentrePort, a project intended to make Winnipeg an international cargo transportation hub.
Among the projects announced Friday is a multi-year effort to upgrade the Perimeter Highway near Brady Road. The province will also rehabilitate the overpass on the Perimeter Highway at Highway 75, along with the overpass structure on the Perimeter at the Trans-Canada Highway East.
"The Perimeter has certainly been a priority for us the last couple of years. It was clearly identified in our five-year plan," Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said.
He said the rebuilding of Highway 75 -- the key road link to the United States -- is coming along nicely.
"We only have just a few stretches left before we've upgraded the entire highway," Ashton said.
Since launching its five-year highway renewal plan in 2007, the province has spent more than $2.8 billion and improved more than 7,400 kilometres of roads and highways, the minister said.
Next year, it will upgrade and repair more than 40 bridges and make improvements on 1,160 kilometres of highway.
Some years ago, the province began announcing its infrastructure plans for the forthcoming season in late fall so construction companies would have more time to bid for work. The government will attach a dollar figure to the infrastructure program in next spring's budget. However, the total will likely run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ottawa will contribute funding to the completion of CentrePort Canada Way as well as to intersection reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway through Headingley.
St. Norbert Coun. Justin Swandel said improvements at the Perimeter-Brady Road intersection are welcome, given the volume of trucks heading to the Brady Road Landfill.
But he said he's eager to see the province make a decision about the alignment of a new intersection with Kenaston Boulevard, which is being extended from Bishop Grandin Boulevard through Waverley West to the Perimeter.
"That decision should have been made a long time ago," said Swandel, who has been critical of delays that have driven up the cost of new regional roads in Waverley West.
The province has yet to acquire the land necessary to extend Kenaston to the Perimeter. A new Kenaston-Perimeter intersection could line up with a Highway 75 bypass around St. Norbert, a road the trucking industry covets.
-- with files from Bartley Kives