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Winnipeg report picks Waverley underpass 1st for infrastructure funds

WINNIPEG — Building an underpass at Waverley Street near Taylor Avenue is Winnipeg’s most important major infrastructure project, according to city administration.

A report ranks four significant projects the city will ask the federal government to help fund.

The underpass in Fort Garry tops the list, followed by the widening of Kenaston Boulevard, an underpass at Marion Street and Archibald Street, then the extension of Chief Peguis Trail to Route 90. Current cost estimates put the Kenaston widening at $375 million, the Peguis extension at $400 million, an underpass at Marion at $250 million and one on Waverley at $175 million, city administration said.

After some discussion, councillors on the Executive Policy Committee dropped the Kenaston project to the bottom of the list because the Kapyong Barracks land along Kenaston is tied up in a court case over First Nations rights to the property

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“All four projects are very important to Winnipeg’s continued growth,” Mayor Brian Bowman said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg city councillors battle over underpass projects

City administrators said they looked at a cost benefit analysis as well as analyzing the risk of not addressing the infrastructure needs.

“The top three projects were all, at the end of the day, very close in ranking,” said Brad Sacher, Winnipeg’s public works director.

Councillors still have to debate the ranking before submitting the list to Ottawa in hopes of getting funding through the Building Canada Fund, a special program for significant infrastructure projects.

John Orlikow, the councillor for River Heights, said federal government changes to rail safety make the underpass project in his ward needed more.

There are just over 40 train crossings there a day and the vehicle traffic volume is around 30,000 per day, he said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg budget hikes taxes, fees and infrastructure funding

St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard is still confident an underpass at Marion can be built, especially since the Kenaston widening project is all but abandoned until the legal status of the land on the former Kapyong Barracks army base is decided.

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Sacher said even when funding from Ottawa is approved, these projects are still years away.

“Significant design work still needs to be done,” Sacher said.

Council is expected to vote on the priority list Wednesday.

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