The City of Winnipeg tabled its budget for 2019 on Friday, March 1st. Some of the highlights include a regular tax rise, but a decrease in roads spending by $29.6 million to $86.4 million.
The overpass was scheduled to be closed on April 29th, but with an increase in work required to reconstruct and rehabilitate the roadway and overpass, the city closed the southbound lanes Wednesday evening.
Southbound Empress street over Portage Avenue between Westway and St. John Ambulance Way is now closed. Construction is expected to run all summer, with plans to re-open November 29th, 2019.
Northbound traffic will not be affected for now.
Manager of engineering at the Public Works Department Brad Neirinck noted that the timing of the projects depends on many factors like weather conditions and big events in the city, which involve some roads blocking form traffic and only pedestrians allowed on a temporary basis. For a complete list of projects roads involved in reconstruction, please visit the link: https://winnipeg.ca/publicworks/construction/roadway/map.asp.
Also, the Waverley Underpass project is now in progress. The total cost for the project is now $98 million, down from the original $156 million budget. The project is slated to be completed in 2020.
There are several reasons behind the projected surplus, mostly due to contingency amounts of about $43 million for various risk factors that have not materialized, according to the report. The report also said construction market conditions were in the buyer’s favor when they were tendering contracts, and a design change to eliminate having to move two major electrical distribution lines saved money.
Fellow Winnipeggers, let’s be patient and hope road construction workers will finish all the projects soon and that will make our city a better place to drive and live in!