Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Still a no-go on Plessis Road

Railway underpass project won't be finished before 2015

  • Print
Various crews work on the Plessis Overpass construction site. The project has been delayed again, pushing back construction until the fall of 2015.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Various crews work on the Plessis Overpass construction site. The project has been delayed again, pushing back construction until the fall of 2015. Photo Store

Plessis Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic well into 2015, thanks to a delay in the construction of an underpass at CN Rail's Redditt line.

The major Transcona artery was closed last summer between Dugald Road and Kernaghan Avenue as part of a $77-million road-widening and underpass-construction project.

The original plan called for the regional street to partly reopen late this year by laying down a temporary concrete or asphalt surface. A newsletter mailed to Transcona households in December declared "the city remains committed to having two lanes open on Plessis Road by the end of 2014."

But in January, city administrators informed politicians the underpass cannot be completed in time to lay down temporary asphalt or concrete before the spring of 2015 -- at which time it may be advisable to simply complete the project by laying down a permanent road surface.

The bottom line for Transcona motorists is Plessis Road may not reopen until the summer or fall of 2015.

"It seems the city is incapable of handling any major capital project," seethed Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, who successfully lobbied the federal Conservative government and Manitoba's NDP government to share the cost of the Plessis Road widening and underpass project.

During the 2011 federal election campaign, Wyatt endorsed Lawrence Toet, the Conservative candidate for Elmwood-Transcona. The Harper government responded by announcing its support for the Plessis Road project, which was not ranked first on a list of city infrastructure priorities.

With federal cash on the table, the Selinger government announced it too would support the project. Together, Ottawa and the province agreed to cover $44.4 million of the $77-million tab, with the city responsible for the remaining $32.6 million.

Now, it's Wyatt who finds himself facing a Plessis Road closure for the remainder of 2014, a municipal election year. He blamed senior city staff for failing to ensure the project was completed on time.

The delay stems from the complexity of the project, which demands the temporary relocation of a section of Shell oil pipelines, a section of the CN Redditt line and a section of an Imperial Oil pipeline.

Public works director Brad Sacher said the Shell pipelines can't be moved until a railway detour is built, which in turn cannot be started until the Imperial pipeline is moved.

"It's a domino effect," he said. "A sequence of events are required to allow the critical path here. The amount of work is such that, inevitably, things come up that are not foreseen."

Sacher said the timeline for the project was already optimistic, given no design work had been conducted when politicians announced the underpass and road-widening. Usually, preliminary design work is underway before a project gets a green light.

Nonetheless, the city came up with what Sacher described as an aggressive, three-year plan to complete a project that would otherwise take four years. But there was little room for error.

One delay arose last year, pertaining to negotiations with the railway, Sacher and Wyatt said. The latest setback resulted from a one-month delay in the work that must be conducted on the Imperial pipeline, they said.

As a result, what was already a narrow window in 2014 for placing a temporary surface on the underpass has closed, Sacher said.

There is a risk the delays will jeopardize the flow of funds from Ottawa and the province. If that happens, the city would be forced to assume a greater share of the project's cost.

On the other hand, Sacher and Wyatt are optimistic the project can be finished before a deadline of Sept. 1, 2015, thanks to a construction contract that offers a $10,000-a-day bonus for early completion and a $10,000-a-day penalty for being late.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 7:38 AM CST: adds interactive graphic

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google