Province unveils designs for upgrades to Winnipeg's South Perimeter Highway

The province is giving the public a chance to see and give feedback on its plans to change the South Perimeter Highway to make it safer and easier to navigate.

Part of pledge to upgrade Perimeter to modern freeway

The public got a chance to see what the province has planned for major upgrades to the South Perimeter Highway during the first of three open houses Tuesday night. (Trevor Brine/CBC )

The province is giving the public a chance to see and give feedback on its plans to change the South Perimeter Highway. 

Dozens of people attended an open house Tuesday night at the Dakota Community Centre for the first of three open houses this week. 

The upgrades would see the highway expanded to three lanes in each direction, add interchanges for intersecting roadways and eliminate at-grade or level crossings, to make the road similar to fully access-controlled freeway. 

One issue the current design addresses is creating more space between the lanes of traffic to make the highway safer, said Don McRitchie, manager of capital projects for Manitoba Infrastructure.

Currently, the highway has two lanes going in each direction that are almost side by side, creating the risk that if a vehicle leaves the roadway, it could be hit by oncoming traffic, McRitchie said. 

"We want to separate the roadways so that safety issue goes away," he said. 

The plan would also create a permanent solution to safety concerns with Brady Road, by bringing traffic over the perimeter using an overpass, he said. 

At least 50 people were at the open house Tueday night when CBC News was there. 

Dozens of people came to the Dakota Community Centre Tuesday night for a chance to see designs for the upgraded highway, ask questions, and give the province feedback. (Sarah Petz/CBC )

Rock Spencer said he thought the upgrades were "long overdue."

"We gotta get with the times," he said.

Mark Fynn lives in the St. Vital area and said his biggest safety concern with the South Perimeter highway is access to the Maple Grove Rugby Park. 

"You can't really turn into Maple Grove Rugby Park from the South Perimeter, so any improvement to access to the park from the perimeter is really important to me," Fynn said.

He said he was happy with the plans he saw. 

"It looks pretty good, pretty promising in some areas," he said. 

Michele Kading, executive director of Save Our Seine, said her group had raised some concerns last year about how the project would integrate the Seine River. Her group has been advocating for improvements to an existing culvert on the river, to allow wildlife and people to move safely under the wider highway.

After looking at the proposal, she said she's happy to see the designs address those concerns. 

Michele Kading, executive director of Save Our Seine, said she was happy to see her concerns about how the project would incorporate the Seine River taken seriously. (Trevor Brine/CBC )

"We're quite pleased that the province has listened to that concern and it looks like they've got it in their plans going forward," she said. 

The next open houses are scheduled for Wednesday at the South Winnipeg Community Centre at 666 Silverstone Avenue, from 5 - 8 p.m., and Thursday at the Oak Bluff Recreation Club, 101-123 MacDonald Road in Oak Bluff.


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