Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Trains, trains go away

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We’ve all been there. Sitting, idling in our vehicles while we mumble under our breath, hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel as our patience is tested because we’ve got somewhere important to be.

I’m talking about being stuck waiting for trains.

There’s no escaping it. You can’t exit Transcona by any route without crossing a set of railroad tracks. The truth is that — even though Plessis Road has the highest traffic volume — when a train crosses any of Transcona’s exit roads traffic is held up, congested, and makes everyone’s commute that much longer.

It seems lately that any time I leave Transcona I’m met by a train which results in an unnecessary headache and my day made a little more irritable because I get to watch as the train slowly moves back and forth and back and forth.

For me, as well as many others, this is the biggest (and loudest) complaint we have about our community. We already battle rush-hour traffic. We don’t need or want to battle trains, too.

Imagine my relief (and scepticism) when I read that construction on the $77 million Plessis Road Underpass is set to start this spring (access is said to be closed to through traffic come July) with the work predicted to be completed by next year.

The project will include other exciting components as well.

Roadway improvements will be made and Plessis Road will be upgraded from two lanes to four divided lanes between Dugald Road and Pandora Avenue. Bicycle and pedestrian lanes will be built also and there will be the relocation of oil pipelines and utilities such as water mains, sewers, gas mains and electrical lines.

I was also pleased to read that there will be land drainage system improvements because, as we know, South Transcona is notorious for flooding in the spring months (and no one wants an underpass that becomes a bath for their undercarriage).

All that said, when you sum up all the work that’s scheduled to be done it’s a big job, and I have my doubts about completion. This looks to be an aggressive schedule so I’ll be the first to say it — I don’t think the City of Winnipeg will make its predicted deadline. But if it does I’ll happily eat my own words (yes, this article) with a fork and knife.

Most people would agree that Transcona needed an overpass years ago because any solution to avoid the hassles of waiting for trains can’t come soon enough.

Adam Petrash is a community correspondent for Transcona. He can be contacted at aetpetrash@gmail.com.

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