‘We need to fix the roads’: Busy spring and summer ahead for Winnipeg roadwork

Click to play video: 'Coun. Janice Lukes on construction season'
Coun. Janice Lukes on construction season
Coun. Janice Lukes says it's gearing up to be a busy time for the city's construction crews, with major projects on the go for 2024 – Apr 23, 2024

Spring has finally arrived in Winnipeg, and while the change in temperatures means the imminent arrival of green trees, flowers and outdoor activity, it also signifies full steam ahead for road construction season.

The city says it has dedicated $138 million to road repairs this year — down $7 million from 2023, Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) says.

Lukes said it’s gearing up to be a busy time for the city’s construction crews, with major projects on the go for 2024, including upgrades to the eastbound lanes of Abinojii Mikanah (Bishop Grandin Boulevard).

“(The work includes) building the lanes a little wider, and it’s also building a bigger shoulder,” Lukes told Global Winnipeg.

“And then next year — westbound. So this is going to (cause) a lot of traffic congestion, but we need to fix the roads.”

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Lukes said pothole repairs will also be top of mind and are likely to extend beyond the spring.

“I would think it would probably take the whole summer, actually…. There are so many potholes,” she said.

“It’s really difficult. You fill the pothole but you’re filling it on an old road. It’s like putting a filling in a rotten tooth.

“We only have so much funding with our population base. We can’t continue to keep raising taxes to fix the roads.”

Lukes said she’s calling for a new funding model — but that the city does its best with the money it has, and with 12 to 14 crews working on the streets daily.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Heavy Construction association talks road repairs'
Manitoba Heavy Construction association talks road repairs

Mayor Scott Gillingham says the $138 million includes dollars set to be used for finishing projects that weren’t done last year — as well as a big price tag for the new projects about to get underway.

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“We’ve done record road budgets over the last several years,” Gillingham said.

“This one’s not a record, but it’s another $138 million of road repair, because our roads need to be fixed.”

The city is also expecting reports on major projects like Route 90, the Chief Peguis extension and the Arlington Bridge in the coming months.

“Those reports that we’re waiting for are the information on what the cost estimate updates on those projects are and what the scope of the work that needs to be done.”

The mayor said the city is hoping to partner with the provincial and federal governments for some of those larger projects, as they involve major trade routes.

While construction can be a cause of frustration for many Winnipeggers, a recent study by CAA Manitoba suggests people are — for the most part — willing to put up with it, as long as there’s a positive end result.

Click to play video: 'CAA Manitoba on spring construction season'
CAA Manitoba on spring construction season

CAA’s Ewald Friesen told Global Winnipeg that the auto club’s survey also asked drivers about specific issues that caused the most pain on local roads — and the results were unsurprising.

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“A recent survey we did, we asked, ‘What are the road conditions that bother us the most?'” Friesen said.

“The biggest ones were uneven road surfaces … and, of course, potholes.”

According to CAA’s data, potholes are so prevalent in Manitoba that while 50 per cent of people experience vehicle damage from potholes, a whopping 70 per cent of those affected don’t even bother to make an insurance claim.

Click to play video: 'WInnipeg’s mayor calls for the opening of Portage and Main to ease road repair woes'
WInnipeg’s mayor calls for the opening of Portage and Main to ease road repair woes

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