Public comment on the final phase of the South Perimeter Highway Design Study was gathered from Dec. 10 to 12 at three open houses in St. Vital, south Winnipeg and Oak Bluff.
Study consultant WSP and Manitoba Infrastructure staff showed a series of display boards detailing what the south Perimeter Highway from Portage to Fermor Avenues might look like in the future. The plans include a new diamond interchange located to the north of the current Perimeter Highway and PTH 3/McGillivray Boulevard intersection in Oak Bluff, and east of the current intersection of the Perimeter and PR 330, as well as the preliminary design of a bypass on the west side of St. Norbert moving traffic from the Perimeter to connect with PTH 75 south of St. Norbert.
Provincial capital projects manager Don McRitchie said the design study’s intent is to provide a framework for turning the south section of the Perimeter into a six-lane freeway with no intersections or level crossings.
"This is the last round of the design study process," he said.
The design study is a separate initiative from the ongoing South Perimeter Highway Safety Plan, under which the speed limit from the Waverley intersection to PR 330 was recently reduced from 100 to 80 kilometres per hour as part of safety improvements being made in the Brady Road area.
While turning lanes were extended and access to the service road in Oak Bluff was changed over the past summer, this work falls under the safety plan, not the design study, McRitchie said. However, the design study has identified a new interchange in Oak Bluff as being the best option rather than continuing to make changes to the current intersection.
"It (the current one) won’t be as effective an interchange because it would be too tight," McRitchie said, referring to the commercial and residential development that has occurred in Oak Bluff.
At this time, the land lying close to the interchange shown in the design study as connecting with PR 330, is still being used for farming. However, McRitchie said, this is likely to change as demand for residential development in the south end of Winnipeg continues.
"We know that area is developing," he said. "We know access to the Perimeter will be needed in the future."
A projection was shown that estimates the daily traffic volume between Portage Ave. and the RM of Macdonald’s eastern border to range between 31,000 and 41,000 vehicles by 2048.
The interchange route is depicted as lying to the east of BrettYoung Seeds, Finmac Lumber and the other businesses in that area.
Following the open houses, the design team will work on a final report that will be presented to the provincial government in the spring. McRitchie said it will be used to plan land acquisition and construction planning and budgeting relating to the south Perimeter Highway.
The study’s phase three presentation is available at https://www.gov.mb.ca/mit/hpd/pth100/studies.html
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at email@example.com Call her at 204-697-7124