Some local business owners are praising the completion of a major road project in northeast Winnipeg.
After over two years of construction, the new Disraeli Bridge opened to vehicular traffic last week.
The $195-million project officially opened Oct. 19 during a ceremony attended by local dignitaries including Premier Greg Selinger, Mayor Sam Katz, and Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher.
Construction costs were funded through a public-private partnership, or P3, that included all three levels of government and Plenary Roads Winnipeg.
The median between the lanes from Disraeli to Hespeler Avenue are not yet complete and are scheduled to be completed next spring.
However, the city plans to open the left turning lane onto Hespeler from Disraeli before winter, and dedicate the right lane headed south on Henderson Highway as a turning lane onto Hespeler.
An active transportation bridge, which will use the existing piers from the old Disraeli Bridge, will open next fall.
Deborah Wazny, owner of gift boutique Savoir Faire located near the corner of Henderson and Johnson Avenue, said construction has been ongoing since her shop opened two years ago and she’s hoping the completion will lead to more business.
"The bridge construction has been there since I opened so I don’t know if it impacted business, but I think it has," Wazny said.
"I think so many people are stressed driving through it that when they get down here they just want to get home. Now that it’s opened people may stop on their way home."
Carla Oliphant, who operates The Creative Stage Emporium, a costume studio and vintage jewelry boutique, at 100-189 Henderson Hwy., said she expects the completion of the bridge will be good for business.
"It was an inconvenience all summer, but ultimately it wasn’t super bad," Oliphant said. "But it’s nice that it’s opening for sure. It definitely makes things a lot easier for everybody."
Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway said he’s pleased the community was able to accomplish two of the three goals it set out while lobbying for the project.
"We didn’t want a bridge closure, we wanted a new bridge rather than a renovated one, and we wanted six lanes," Maloway said.
"But the four that are there are wide, and the infrastructure is there for the extra two lanes."
Katz said the new bridge will benefit the community and allow for the easier flow of traffic.
"Approximately 42,000 vehicles travel this route every day, that’s why the city was supportive of constructing the new bridge while the existing structure remained open," he said.