WINNIPEG — Manitoba motorists could one day drive the length of the South Perimeter Highway without needing to stop for a single traffic light.
Drivers could also see a six-lane, freeway-style design to improve traffic flow while also increasing safety.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler revealed the upgrades Thursday as the province released the South Perimeter Highway Design Study.
“Our government’s first priority is the safety of Manitobans on our roads and we want to make the South Perimeter safer and easier to travel for the approximately 30,000 vehicles that drive it every day,” said Schuler.
“We’ve set out to do substantive work to address safety and operational problems, and this study will serve as our blueprint for the next 20 to 30 years.”
The province hired WSP Canada Group Limited in 2017 as its engineering consultant to provide a functional design study for the reconstruction of the South Perimeter Highway.
As part of the study, the goal was to find a way to eliminate at-grade crossings from the Trans-Canada Highway West interchange at Portage Avenue to the Trans-Canada Highway East interchange at Fermor Avenue. The province also wanted to see how intersecting roadways and railways could be separated through interchanges and overpasses.
“With increased use of the highway over the past 30 years and growth in both south Winnipeg and communities south of the city, we required an updated report to address safety, operational and capacity deficiencies, and the general physical condition of the roadway,” added Schuler.
Schuler says the first stage will include upgrading the highway to a four-lane divided freeway and improving the structure, interchanges and bridges to accommodate forecasted 2048 traffic levels. The final stage will include upgrading the Perimeter Highway to a six-lane divided freeway, reconfiguring the existing highway and constructing new interchanges where necessary.
Work is already under on the new Brady Road service road, while construction on an interchange at St. Mary’s Road will commence in late 2021. A service road at Aimes Road and Melnick Road will see shovels in the ground in late 2021 as well, while the West Perimeter Highway service road from Wilkes Avenue to Oakland Road will see work begin later this year.
The complete design study can be found at gov.mb.ca.