Winnipeg creates working group to improve road building
While announcing the start of Winnipeg’s road construction season, Mayor Brian Bowman tasked a working group of experts and construction leaders with improving the overall road construction process including greater utilization of 24/7 operations.
“With the arrival of spring, road construction across our city is getting underway,” said Bowman in a media release. “Fixing our roads continues to be a key priority for me and many members of Council, and we need to continually look at ways to build better and smarter in order to deliver greater value to taxpayers.”
The city plans to pour $86.4 million into regional and local road renewal projects this year. It is the lowest road budget the city has seen since 2014 and a significant decrease 2018’s $116 million budget, which was Winnipeg’s largest ever. Bowen blamed decrease on the “unilateral decision by the provincial government to not fully fund the final year of a five-year $250 million road funding commitment to the city that expired at the end of 2018.”
Bowman explained this year’s road improvements were made possible by a two percent increase in property taxes. It also marks the first year of a five-year accelerated regional roads investment program jointly funded by the government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, and the city.
The road construction working group will be chaired by City Councillor Matt Allard. Representing construction on the working group will be Ron Hambley, president, Winnipeg Construction Association, and Chris Lorenc, president, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. The group will also include city officials, business leaders and consulting engineering leaders.
The working group has been tasked with providing advice and recommendations to the mayor on how to improve the overall procurement, design, and road construction process. They will also tackle how to extend the successful early tendering process for regional roads to include local roads, improve communication with the public and utilize 24/7 construction in a cost-effective way. The group will also explore other options to accelerate project construction, including a review of working hours and working days.
“I am pleased to lead this working group,” said Councillor Allard in a media release. “With less capital funding available from the province this year for road improvements, it’s even more important that we consider ways to improve the overall procurement and construction process as well as find ways to strengthen communication with residents and businesses that are affected by road construction work.”
The working group is expected to submit a report within 60 days of its inaugural meeting scheduled for late May.
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