Lack of complete budget breakdown for Waverley underpass ‘concerning’ to some councillors

Click to play video: 'City of Winnipeg releases graphic for Waverley Underpass proposed design' City of Winnipeg releases graphic for Waverley Underpass proposed design
WATCH: City of Winnipeg releases graphic for Waverley Underpass proposed design – May 5, 2017

WINNIPEG — Crews officially broke ground on the Waverley Street Underpass project Friday morning but some city councillors say they are being left in the dark when it comes to the budget.

READ MORE: Expropriation to go ahead for Waverley underpass project in Winnipeg

The $155-million dollar project includes replacing the existing railway crossing at Waverley Steet and Taylor Avenue with an underpass. It also includes construction of a temporary traffic detour roadway, the underpass bridge structure, significant road improvements in the area, and land drainage work, including a pump station.

“This is preparing our city to move citizens safely and efficiently,” Mayor Brian Bowman said. “Each year the delays and the traffic is just growing and growing and growing on this artery.”

The federal and provincial government are each contributing $45.9 million to the project. CN is also putting in a further $9.5 million, with the city covering the balance.

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“This is a perfect example of why we need to be making investments into our future,” Bowman said.

Last week, the City of Winnipeg awarded a $44.7 million construction contract for the underpass to Maple Leaf Construction.

But the budget for the entire project is $155 million.

“We’re talking millions of dollars,” St. Norbert city councillor Janice Lukes, said. “I’m having to trust that the departments are watching this, overseeing it. I know in the past we have seen some errors, we have seen some problems occur.”

Recently, the city set up a “proactive disclosure” section on its website.

“This, as well as every other capital project, you can view (on there),” the mayor said. “Capital expenditure reports provide monthly real time updates on every dollar we spend.”

But Lukes said the last disclosure on this project they received was in April as a quarterly report from January and they haven’t been shown a full breakdown of the $155 million budget.

“I have cause for concern,” Lukes said. “I’m having a challenge getting information.”

Lukes pointed to other issues with big capital projects, like the new police headquarters which was close to $80 million over budget.

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It’s also the centre of an RCMP investigation where it’s alleged there was  multi-million dollar fraud.

READ MORE: Plessis Road underpass project ‘an embarrassment,’ councillor says

The Plessis Road underpass project was pegged at $77 million but was over budget by $8.4 million.





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