In May, area residents were notified that an upgrade of Murray Avenue, the gravel road connecting Main Street and McPhillips Street, was scheduled to start in July. As the weeks and then the months passed, drivers and community residents noticed that the road remained untouched.
It’s now November and it’s become apparent that the plan to turn the gravel road into a safe connection between Main and McPhillips is not going to happen any time soon.
The city’s public works department has confirmed that the approximately two-kilometre stretch between the CPR Winnipeg Beach rail line and Murray Road was designed to be completed in two phases in 2012 and 2013. However, the existing Hydro poles that are currently on the south side of the ditch off Murray Road will be in the center or the new roadway. This means the poles will need to be relocated prior to the start of any construction.
Lester Deane, the city’s manager of engineering for public works, explained that the land acquisition required for the upgrading was not completed as quickly as hoped.
"While we have acquired all lands needed for Murray Avenue, we now have to relocate the Manitoba Hydro infrastructure currently on the south side adjacent to the existing roadway," he said.
Residents in the Riverbend community will have to be a little more patient as the project will now take longer than originally expected.
Brent Kellett, streets project co-ordinator for the city, confirmed no roadwork will take place on Murray this year. He attributed the delay to the length of time it took to acquire the property needed for the road work and the timing of the Hydro relocation.
"Both phases of the project will be completed next year starting in spring once the frost is gone, ideally mid to late May, weather permitting, and the construction will take approximately three months to complete," he said.
Concerns about the state of the road were addressed this past spring and the public works department reassured residents that the roadway will be graded as required in order to keep the roadway passable until construction begins. Once construction starts, the road will be closed to all traffic during construction in order to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Murray Avenue project is intended to improve drainage and upgrade the existing roadway to meet current guideline and is funded under the city’s granular roadway improvements program.
Alisa Pihulak is a Riverbend-based writer.
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