Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/1/2010 (4550 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NORTHEAST Winnipeg motorists and cyclists both got what they want from the final design for a rehabilitated Disraeli Freeway: No extended closures during the construction period and a bike-and-pedestrian bridge that doesn't require a detour.
The Disraeli Bridge over the Red River will be replaced by a brand-new, four-lane vehicle bridge with a sidewalk and a separate, lower span for bikes and pedestrians, the city announced on Monday, as it unveiled the configuration for the rehabilitation of the 1.1-kilometre Disraeli Freeway, which connects downtown to Elmwood.
Motorists will be able to use the existing Disraeli Freeway during the construction of a new vehicle bridge over the Red as well as a new vehicle overpass above the CPR Keewatin line in Point Douglas. The new design replaces a previous rehabilitation plan that would have seen the busiest link between downtown and northeast Winnipeg closed for about 16 months.
Northeast Winnipeg residents resented the proposed closing, while cyclists were annoyed by a plan to build a separate active-transportation span three blocks to the east.
The new design was commissioned this fall, after the Manitoba government pledged to spend an additional $53.3 million on the Disraeli Freeway rehabilitation, effectively increasing the budget to around $195 million.
City officials then asked three private construction consortia to come up with creative ways to spend that money. "We said, 'This is what our budget is; you guys come forward with the best possible solution,' " said Henry Hunter, the city's procurement manager on major projects.
Winnipeg wound up choosing a design by a group called Plenary Roads Winnipeg, comprised of financier Plenary Group, PCL Constructors, Wardrop Engineering, Stantec Consulting and Borland Construction.
Plenary Roads' design calls for a new Disraeli rail overpass to rise to the east of the existing overpass, while a new Disraeli Bridge will be built to the west of the existing span over the river.
Piers from the existing bridge will be trimmed down and used for a new bike-and-pedestrian bridge, while roadways in Point Douglas, Elmwood and downtown will be reconfigured to match up to the new curving freeway design, according to a promotional video on the city's website.
"Re-using the piers from the river bridge for active transportation is quite innovative," said North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, one of four city councillors who voted against the previous Disraeli plan.
The rehabilitation plan remains a public-private partnership. The city plans to borrow money to spend $75 million up front, while the remaining $120 million will be financed by Plenary Roads, which will design and build the new freeway, then maintain it for 30 years. The city will then make service payments to cover both the capital costs and maintenance fees, Hunter said.
While the city did not initially intend to build a new vehicle bridge over the Red River, the recession helped make the new design possible within a $195-million budget, Hunter said.
"When we originally looked at this project, we were experiencing unprecedented cost escalations," he said, adding construction inflation has since cooled off.
Construction on the project will begin in 2011 and likely be completed in 2013. It will take another year to finalize the design and obtain environmental approvals, Hunter said.
The existing freeway is safe to use. "If it wasn't safe, it wouldn't be open," he said.