Winnipeg road repairs could get extra $8M cash this year
$8M more work to be done on residential streets this year if existing projects wrap up
City hall has a response to construction industry complaints about the pace of roadwork this summer.
At a special meeting on Monday, city council's public works committee voted to spend $8 million from the city's 2017 budget on residential street rehabilitation this year if crews wrap up existing work on time.
Pending council approval later this month, the move would allow one additional residential street to be fixed up in each of the city's 15 wards.
In recent weeks, construction-industry lobbyists and Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt asserted the city is not doing enough to ensure enough road rehabilitation and renewal work is done this year.
The construction industry claimed the province is tendering less work this year and also complained the city has not tendered all of the roadwork budgeted for this season in a timely manner. Wyatt, meanwhile, attempted in June to get council to approve $30 million worth of additional roadwork.
Following the June council meeting, Winnipeg's public works department identified 15 streets that could be fixed this year once crews complete nearby projects, said public works chair Janice Lukes (councillor for South Winnipeg-St. Norbert).
Lukes suggested city officials had been in talks with construction industry players before Wyatt made his motion. She said a number a factors led to the city plan to spend some of next year's road budget this year.
"This a result of the industry saying, 'Look, prices are really competitive.' It's a result of the province not putting out as much work this year. It's the result of the federal government not really having a handle on what they're doing for roads right now. Fuel prices are low," she said.
The city's roadwork budget for 2016 is $105 million. The projected spending for 2017 is $94 million.
City council has the power to approve advances from the next year's budget for a variety of reasons, most often to ensure tendering can take place in a timely manner.