The Province of Manitoba is moving ahead with plans to reconstruct the south Perimeter Highway, including the proposed St. Norbert bypass.

The province announced Friday an engineering consultant has been hired to provide a functional design study for the project.

"The design study will consider options for safe, efficient and cost-effective access points along the South Perimeter Highway, as well as options for a future bypass around St. Norbert,"  Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said in a news release. "These projects are long-term investments leading to safer roads and more efficient traffic movement, which can also save on fuel costs."

The previous NDP government had pledged in late 2015 to spend up to $800 million to upgrade intersections along the south Perimeter Highway and another $400 million on a highway link that would bypass St. Norbert.

However, the work has been on hold since the new Progressive Conservative government put a freeze on all new projects pending a review of spending after taking office in the spring of 2016.

In the release Friday the government says South Perimeter Highway will be redesigned to create a modern freeway similar to American interstate standards, where interchanges with overpass structures, ramps or loops and service roads provide highway access.

The functional design study includes plans for a future western bypass of the St. Norbert neighbourhood, starting at PTH 75 south of the area and running north to PTH 100 at Kenaston Boulevard, according to the release.

Other issues the study will address include:

  • Future interchange locations.
  • Future railroad grade separations.
  • Bridge replacements and/or modifications.
  • Traffic projections.
  • The City of Winnipeg's transit requirements.
  • Active transportation accommodations.

The study, which will be conducted by WSP Canada Group Limited, is expected to take two years to complete.