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This article was published 9/10/2018 (748 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jenny Motkaluk says 137 years is long enough time to wait for a new bridge linking Point Douglas and Elmwood.
Motkaluk held a Tuesday morning news conference a stone’s throw from the historic Louise Bridge, where she pledged to make the construction of a new bridge one of her top two infrastructure priority projects if she’s elected mayor.
"This bridge has done its job for 137 years and that’s pretty remarkable," she told reporters. "But now it’s rusty and it’s decrepit and, like our current mayor, it needs to be replaced."
Motkaluk said she would replace the two-lane structure with a four-lane bridge that would also include sidewalks and a cycling path.
"A new bridge that will finally give residents in the northeast a desperately needed relief to long waits and a fair bit of frustration and at the same time, it will relieve the heavy traffic on the Disraeli and the Provencher bridges, which motorists now use instead of the Louise," she said.
Motkaluk said city hall’s Master Transportation Plan called for the bridge to be replaced by 2016. She blamed Mayor Brian Bowman for the delay.
Motkaluk was accompanied by area councillor Jason Schreyer, who endorsed her for mayor.
Schreyer, the son of former NDP premier Ed Schreyer, said he wanted to clear up any perception that he supports Bowman’s re-election bid.
"There is no candidate that is in more harmony with the platform of my last four years on council than Jenny Motkaluk and who represents the values of working-class people in my community and Winnipeg," he said.
Schreyer’s support of Motkaluk isn’t surprising given his positions on council. He, like Motkaluk, opposes bus rapid transit and re-opening Portage and Main to pedestrians.
Schreyer is the first labour-endorsed council candidate to support Motkaluk, who is an admitted right-wing candidate. She previously won North Kildonan councillor Jeff Browaty's endorsement.
The bridge's future has been tied to plans for a proposed eastern bus rapid transit corridor. While the 2011 Transportation Master Plan cited the replacement of the Louise Bridge as a short-term priority, the document stated a new bridge could also serve as a multimodal link providing access for general traffic and a dedicated transit corridor across the Red River. City officials put off replacing the bridge until a route for the eastern BRT corridor linking downtown to Transcona has been finalized.
Motkaluk has promised to stop constructing future BRT corridors and instead use the money to expand and electrify Winnipeg Transit's fleet.
The 2011 TMP estimated a new Louise Bridge could be built for about $100 million but Motkaluk said that price tag has probably increased over time.
Motkaluk said the new bridge and the extension of the Chief Peguis Trail from Main Street to Route 90 would be the top two infrastructure priorities of her administration, and those projects would occur before the Kenaston Boulevard widening.
"Better traffic flows on the entire north side of the city will be more in balance with traffic-related infrastructure projects that are currently underway on the south side of the city," she said.
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