City unveils proposed functional design for new St. James bridge, widened Route 90

The City of Winnipeg posted conceptual maps to its website showing the proposed alignment for the bridge, which will include the construction of a new southbound bridge and the incorporation of the existing bridges.

City held meeting with residents living immediately adjacent to Route 90 who could face expropriation

The City of Winnipeg posted conceptual maps to its website showing the proposed alignment for the St. James bridge. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Winnipeggers can now get a glimpse of what a widened Route 90 and new St. James bridge might look like.

The City of Winnipeg has posted functional design drawings to its website showing the proposed alignment for the bridge, which will include the construction of a new southbound bridge and the incorporation of the existing bridges.

On Tuesday, the city held a meeting with about 50 residents living immediately adjacent to Route 90, some of whom may be required to sell their properties or have them expropriated.

Reaction to the design was mixed, said Vaibhav Banthia, bridge projects engineer with the city's public works department.

"Generally in terms of the design people were happy with the configuration, but obviously when people's homes are affected there is always anxiety and a little bit of anger with the design," he said.

A map showing the functional design of Route 90 between Taylor and Ness avenues. (City of Winnipeg)

The design incorporates the existing southbound bridge, which will serve as a ramp connecting traffic from Portage Avenue.

A new southbound bridge for through traffic will be built between the existing southbound and northbound bridges. A new ramp will be built connecting Academy Road to the northbound bridge, which will undergo rehabilitation.

Route 90 will be widened to three lanes in both directions between Taylor Avenue and Ness Avenue.

The  design is still a work in progress, which  is why the city is holding consultations with the public, Banthia said. The city plans to hold six invitation-only meetings with other residents within 500 metres of the project, as well as two pop-up events for the public at large.

It also has an online survey to gather feedback from the public.

This map shows the functional design of Route 90 over the Assiniboine River. (City of Winnipeg)

About 4,000 letters have been sent to area residents, institutions and businesses inviting them to two upcoming meetings at Carpathia School on June 25 and 27.

The city is striving to minimize the impact on nearby residents, but Banthia said people on either side of the route will be affected.

"We are working in a very constrained area where properties are extremely close to Route 90, so widening without impacting properties is practically impossible," he said.

City council approved an alignment in 2012 based on a transportation planning study. The design has been updated to account for changes in terms of active transportation, traffic flow, transit incorporation, and local improvements, Banthia said.

The new bridge is needed because of the age of the existing one — the southbound bridge is 82 years old — and could pose a safety hazard if not replaced within the next decade, Banthia said.

If all goes according to plan, Banthia expects construction to start by 2022, with a completion date about four years after that.

With files from Susan Magas

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