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City, Hydro blame each other for delay opening Reenders extension

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt leans on the "road closed" sign blocking access to the east end of Reenders road Tuesday.  Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt leans on the "road closed" sign blocking access to the east end of Reenders road Tuesday. Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/11/2015 (1163 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

City hall and Manitoba Hydro are blaming each other for the delay of opening a new street extension in Transcona.

Two lanes of the Reenders Drive extension are ready to open to traffic, but city officials won’t remove concrete barriers until street lights are installed.

City officials said the delay is Manitoba Hydro’s fault, and Hydro says the blame lies with the city.

The name-calling is frustrating ward Coun. Russ Wyatt, who wants to believe city officials but doesn’t know why Hydro would deny responsibility.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/11/2015 (1163 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

City hall and Manitoba Hydro are blaming each other for the delay of opening a new street extension in Transcona.

Two lanes of the Reenders Drive extension are ready to open to traffic, but city officials won’t remove concrete barriers until street lights are installed.

City officials said the delay is Manitoba Hydro’s fault, and Hydro says the blame lies with the city.

“Somebody is lying and somebody is telling the truth. This isn’t kindergarten. We are trying to build a city.”-Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt

The name-calling is frustrating ward Coun. Russ Wyatt, who wants to believe city officials but doesn’t know why Hydro would deny responsibility.

"Public servants — be they provincial or municipal — are there to serve the public," Wyatt (Transcona) said. "They’re well-paid professionals who need to stop pointing fingers and get the job done."

Wyatt said two lanes of the Reenders extension are paved and underground infrastructure for the overhead streets lights is in place. The street was ready to be opened on Monday — except there are no street lights.

Wyatt said the acting director of public works told him Manitoba Hydro hadn’t scheduled the work, adding the department was having other problems with the Crown agency on Sturgeon Road.

The extension of Reenders was designed, in part, to relieve traffic congestion on Regent Avenue — both streets travel east-west — providing motorists with another access to Lagimodiere Boulevard.

The road extension was built and paid for by a local developer; the developer was required to construct the extension before it could proceed with a commercial development project in the area.

Two lanes of Reenders were planned to be open to traffic this fall and another two lanes are to be completed next year.

A civic spokeswoman said the Reenders extension is ready to be opened but can’t until the lights are installed as that is a safety issue.

"We don’t have an exact date yet as to when the lighting will be complete but we are following up with the developer as well as Manitoba Hydro to get a more firm timeline," the spokeswoman said.

Manitoba Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen said the delay is the city’s fault. Owen said the utility submitted designs for approval Sept. 21 to the city’s underground structures division, but has not received a response.

Owen said the city is also required to resolve some outstanding property easement issues before 30 light standards can be installed, and that hasn’t happened yet either.

Wyatt said the finger-pointing between the civic and provincial officials is inexcusable.

"Somebody is lying and somebody is telling the truth," Wyatt said. "This isn’t kindergarten. We are trying to build a city."

Wyatt said the delay in opening the Reenders extension has also continued the aggravation for homeowners on a nearby hard, dirt-packed road. Motorists are using Almey Avenue as a bypass around traffic-clogged Regent Avenue and to access old Transcona and neighbouring shopping. But Almey is narrow with open ditches and no sidewalks; the roadway wasn’t designed to handle the amount of traffic and is constantly developing potholes.

The west end of Almey is set to close, Wyatt said, but that won’t happen until the Reenders extension is opened to traffic.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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