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Winnipeg road work season on route to completion: city

Click to play video 'Winnipeg road work season on route to completion: city' Winnipeg road work season on route to completion: city
Traffic was lighter than normal throughout the summer while fewer people commuted to work, the city says, but fewer cars on Winnipeg roads did not significantly affect road repairs. Global's Erik Pindera has the story.

Traffic was lighter than normal throughout the summer while fewer people commuted to work, the city said.

But fewer cars on Winnipeg roads did not significantly affect road repairs.

Significant regional road work is planned years in advance — meaning crews didn’t increase the number of projects beyond what had already been planned despite empty streets, said city project management engineer Michelle Stainton.

“Ideally, two years ahead to let us start to co-ordinate … with all of the stakeholders and players that are involved in a regional street,” she said, pointing to utilities like Manitoba Hydro and telecommunications firms and neighbouring businesses.

Read more: Manitoba unveils blueprint for decades’ worth of upgrades to South Perimeter Highway

The construction season typically lasts from the May long weekend until mid-October.

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“It’s May long weekend because that’s typically where we can guarantee that the ground will be in good condition to work — you can’t work in frozen ground,” Stainton said.

“The early stages of the pandemic, when the real shut down was — where there was very little traffic on the street — it just wasn’t appropriate (conditions) for the full-on construction.”

However, the roughly 200 road projects planned for the season are on track to be completed before winter.

“About 25 per cent of our projects are complete, done, walked away,” Stainton said. “About 45 per cent are about half done and into the final stretches — only about 10 per cent haven’t started but those are the smaller, very quick projects.”

Stainton noted the projects that haven’t begun — thin road overlays and sidewalk work, for example — could be rolled over into the next construction season.

Read more: Winnipeg grocer, city at odds over construction on Maryland Street

The city’s road budget for the season is approximately $130 million, the city said at the start of the season. 

The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association’s president, Chris Lorenc, said the pandemic had little effect on heavy road work this year.

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That’s in part due to construction work being deemed essential amid the early COVID-19 shutdowns and also due to investment by governments into heavy construction, he said.

Click to play video 'Winnipeg announces start of road construction season' Winnipeg announces start of road construction season
Winnipeg announces start of road construction season