The province will provide $20 million to help fund road improvements in the Polo Park area.

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This article was published 12/6/2013 (3089 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When the former Canad Inns Stadium is replaced by retail developments, traffic will be even heavier.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

When the former Canad Inns Stadium is replaced by retail developments, traffic will be even heavier.

The province will provide $20 million to help fund road improvements in the Polo Park area.

The financial boost will give Winnipeggers better access to the many commercial businesses within the area, Premier Greg Selinger said at a news conference Wednesday.

"This will make a big difference to move safely and efficiently," he said. "We're a growing economy and a growing population, we need to see these investments."

The former Canad Inns Stadium is currently being dismantled and will be replaced by residential and commercial development, adding to traffic in the area that is already clogged during rush hours. Road construction in the area will get underway in 2014.

"We've been waiting for something like this," said Leo Ledohowski, president and chairman of Canad Inns. "It's beneficial for us."

A year ago, St. James Street came in first in the CAA Manitoba Worst Roads campaign. This year, the street was a close second.

With the current traffic snarls, many would-be customers currently find the Polo Park area difficult to shop in, said Liz Peters, CAA Manitoba Public and Government Affairs manager.

"Customers will strategically avoid this area during holiday season and shop at other places. It's unsafe," said Peters.

The province made this funding commitment in 2012 but declined to make it public, Mayor Sam Katz said Wednesday. The province's $20 million adds to $20 million the city pledged in December to improving roads in the area.

"We were aware of (the province's contribution) and now it's been made public," the mayor told reporters after Wednesday's executive policy committee meeting, which took place while the province held its press conference.

Katz said he is certain the province knows he spends Wednesday mornings at EPC and would not have been available to attend the province's announcement.

He said the province declined an invitation to attend the city's announcement about the Polo Park infrastructure improvements in December.

 

-- with files from Bartley Kives

elizabeth.fraser@freepress.mb.ca