Manitoba Liberals plan to halt St. Norbert highway bypass project

Manitoba Liberals intend to can a major highway project if they form government after the April 19 provincial election.

Rana Bokhari says a $400-million bypass around St. Norbert is not a priority for her party

Manitoba Liberals intend to dump a major highway project if they form government after the April 19 provincial election. 1:11

Manitoba Liberals intend to dump a major highway project if they form government after the April 19 provincial election.

Leader Rana Bokhari says a planned $400-million bypass around St. Norbert at the south end of Winnipeg is not a priority, and the money should be redirected to fixing existing roads.

Asked how much money that would mean the province would be able to spend elsewhere, Bokhari couldn't answer.

"I don't have those numbers but what's really important to know is that we're saying it can't be a priority right now," she said.

However, she estimates the bypass money could instead repair 270 kilometres of streets in Winnipeg.

The NDP government recently announced the bypass as a way to ease traffic congestion and allow trucks coming from the United States a smoother, faster route into the city.

Bokhari says it's more important to repair and improve current roads.

"The priority needs to be the city of Winnipeg and the regional roadways, where people can't even go one block without hitting a major pothole," Bokhari said at a news conference, calling those roads "basic necessities of life."

"This is affecting the everyday lives of Manitobans, so that's my priority … to make sure Manitobans have safe and competent places to go.

"You should never be in a situation where you are afraid you are going to either hit a vehicle next to you or hit a pothole."

The party is also promising to double the $50 million spent last year on back lanes, bridges and other road works in Winnipeg.

With files from The Canadian Press