Manitoba

Province will build alternative to Highway 75 for use during spring floods

The provincial government will spend $16 million on building a detour for Highway 75, which often floods in spring.

Flood-proofing road would be too expensive and time-consuming, Premier Brian Pallister says

The town of Morris, pictured here during the flood of 2011, is located along Highway 75 near the Red River. While the town is protected from floods, the highway isn't. (Province of Manitoba)

The provincial government will spend $16 million to build a detour for Highway 75, which often floods in spring.

The $16 million will be spent on converting a portion of Provincial Road 246, between Morris and Aubigny on the east side of the Red River, from gravel to asphalt so commercial traffic will have an alternative route in southern Manitoba during spring flood season. 

Highway 75, which runs along the Red River from Winnipeg to the United States, has a notorious reputation for flooding in spring. 

Since 1996, the highway has been closed approximately once every four years, for an average of 24 days. 

The detour will help traffic go around the worst of the flooding so truck transport isn't disrupted, Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday. 

The money is part of the $400 million announced by the province in November for emergency response and damage prevention measures.

Flood-proofing Highway 75 would be much more expensive and take much longer than building the detour, Pallister said.

The province would have to build an additional six to eight bridges and disrupt traffic for a significant amount of time to go that route, he said.

The province will also spend $17 million on six other projects that Pallister said will make infrastructure in southern Manitoba more resilient to flooding and climate change: 

  • Improving St. Mary's Road in the rural municipality of Montcalm.
  • Expanding the east pump house in the rural municipality of Rhineland.
  • Building a berm in St-Pierre-Jolys.
  • Upgrading the Elkhorn lagoon and lift station in the rural municipality of Wallace-Woodworth.
  • Kenton supply wells generator backup in the rural municipality of Wallace-Woodworth.
  • Upgrading downtown drainage in Altona.

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