Hwy. 32 through Winkler will be twinned with construction expected to begin next summer, according to Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen and Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.
The provincial project will answer a request made for many years.
“I was elected in 2011 and I came to this role with a desire to get things done,” Friesen said in a Nov. 25 interview. “I have files in my filing cabinet on this particular issue that date back to the mid 2000’s.”
Friesen said he’s happy to see it come to fruition.
“I’m exceedingly pleased to be part of a government that has prioritized this project in just four years of government, with all the challenges we have faced and I’ll be very pleased to see this project completed.”
Friesen said this project is a priority because they assess potential projects through a “return on investment” lens, and base decisions on evidence.
“This is one of the most significantly used roadways in all of rural Manitoba with some traffic counts measuring 15,000 cars per day,” Friesen said. “We know that the City of Winkler is booming, we know that it continues to have a growing population that continues to have an industrial, commercial and retail community that’s expanding. We need to make the investments that will support the future growth of the city.”
The area to be twinned runs from Norquay to Victoria Ave, which means the road will be twinned from Hwy. 14 to Pembina Ave.
A new signaled intersection will be installed at Mountain Ave, and the railroad crossing will also be upgraded. A walkway will be developed on the east side of the road as well.
Friesen said careful thought will go into the construction plans. “Manitoba Infrastructure will be developing a staged traffic management plan in order to accommodate traffic during the construction stages,” he said.
Friesen said they are hoping to put out a call for tenders by February or March and would like to see construction start this summer (2020) and be completed by the fall of 2021.
“As a local MLA, I’m very pleased, because for the first four and a half years of my time in the role of MLA for Morden-Winkler I continued to describe to the previous government, the need to proceed sooner rather than later on this project and they were not attentive to those arguments,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be part of a government that is proceeding to prioritize projects that get good return on investment.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler agreed.
“We are pleased to be moving ahead with the reconstruction of Highway 32 and widen it to four lanes. As everyone knows, this work will address safety issues, as well as the fact that the road in its current state is at the end of its life span,” he said. “With a growing population and a strong commercial and industrial base, this investment will ensure the City of Winkler continues to grow into the future.”