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Road construction season set to kick off in Winnipeg despite coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg announces start of road construction season' Winnipeg announces start of road construction season
They say time stops for no one, but in Winnipeg, road construction stops for no virus. Global's Marek Tkach reports on the beginning of road construction season, and how the need to repair infrastructure will be balanced against the need to keep people healthy – Apr 24, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has cancelled a lot of activities in Winnipeg so far, but one annual event that will continue unabated is the city’s road construction season, which is planned to get underway in May.

The city said Friday that close to 200 construction projects have been planned, totalling more than 175 kilometres of road improvements.

The improvements to Winnipeg’s local and regional streets, back lanes and sidewalks come with a $130-million price tag and will have the additional benefit of providing jobs at a time when many Winnipeggers are unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis.

“The health and well-being of Canadians remains our top priority as COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on people and economies across the country,” said federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna.

“We have invested in projects to help build our communities, and efforts are being made to safely maintain transportation networks so residents can get where they are needed. We will get through this together.”

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READ MORE: Robotic construction equipment popular in Manitoba, but human operators still needed

The city said its investment in road renewal reflects the two per cent property tax increase as well as the second year of a five-year accelerated road investment program funded by all three levels of government.

“The start of road construction season is always an exciting time because it signals the flow of capital funding dollars into our economy,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.

“Against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the effect it has had on our economy, this is an especially important road construction season for jobs and our city’s economy.”

READ MORE: Unfinished projects remain as the end of Winnipeg’s construction season nears

The city said it will be working with contractors to implement best practices for disinfecting equipment, encouraging handwashing and promoting social distancing. Construction information, including lane closures on major streets and an interactive map of construction projects, is available on the city’s public works website.

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