Freedom Road work to resume next week

Construction on a long-awaited road providing all-season access to Shoal Lake 40 is entering its second, and final, phase, the community's chief said.

Road will connect Shoal Lake 40 to the Trans-Canada Highway

The second phase of Freedom Road, which will connect the community of Shoal Lake 40 to the Trans-Canada Highway, is set to begin, the community's chief said. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Construction on a long-awaited road providing all-season access to Shoal Lake 40 is entering its second, and final, phase, the community's chief said Monday.

When it's completed next year, Freedom Road will be 24 kilometres long and connect Shoal Lake 40 to the Trans-Canada Highway.

Currently, Shoal Lake 40 — located at the Ontario-Manitoba border — is only accessible by ice road in the winter, or boat in the summer. The community is located on a peninsula, but that became a man-made island when the Winnipeg aqueduct was constructed.

'It's huge'

"It's huge for us," Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky said, adding the road will allow safe, reliable access to the community, and let it manage things like solid and liquid waste.

"We've got a new school coming," he said. "People will want to return home, so we've gotta prepare for that, plan for that."

Redsky said preliminary work on the second phase — including bringing in equipment — will start "any time."

Water treatment plant work beginning

In addition, the road is the first step in the construction of a new water treatment plant at Shoal Lake 40, which has been under a boil water advisory since 1998.

The plant is scheduled to be completed by 2021, and is currently entering the design phase, Redsky said.

"We're going to do everything to advance that scheduling," he said.

The first phase of the road was constructed in 2017, Redsky said. The entire road is expected to be completed by March 2019.

A contract for the second phase of the road was awarded to Sigfusson Northern on Jan. 23, and the $40-million project is being funded by the federal government, Manitoba government, and the city of Winnipeg.