Manitoba·CITY HALL

Waverley underpass officially under budget, city to return millions to feds, province

The mayor's inner circle passed a motion on Tuesday to return millions of dollars worth of loans from the federal and provincial governments after learning the Waverley Street underpass project will cost much less than the city predicted.

Project expected to come in nearly $60 million less than expected

Work began on the Waverley Street underpass project in 2017 and is expected to be completed by August 2020. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

The mayor's inner circle passed a motion on Tuesday to return millions of dollars worth of loans from the federal and provincial governments after learning the Waverley Street underpass project will cost much less than the city had forecast.

The adminstrative motion, introduced by Coun. Scott Gillingham (St. James) at the executive policy committee, amends agreements with both Ottawa and the Government of Manitoba to free up unspent money that had been loaned to Winnipeg to pay for the project.

Each level of government will see $19 million in savings, Bowman says.

"The intent of the motion is to free up available debt capacity," he said.

Obviously, it's good news we're on time and under budget.- Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman

At the last finance committee meeting, councillors learned the Waverley Street at CN Mainline project remains $58 million under budget, the same surplus estimated in January

The project, initially pegged at $156 million, will now cost $98 million, the city's public service told councillors.

"Obviously, it's good news we're on time and under budget," Mayor Brian Bowman said Tuesday. "This is an opportunity for federal and provincial partners to realize some savings."

The Waverley Street underpass project is a large, multi-year undertaking that involved moving a busy rail line, one that sees between 35 and 40 trains pass by everyday, to a bridge over Waverley Street. 

In December the train bridge was completed and the city is currently working on removing the rail detour and improving drainage and landscaping along Waverley Street.

Bowman says he would like to see the savings reinvested in Winnipeg, but acknowledged it's up to the other levels of government to decide where to spend the money.

In case there are some unforeseen costs, Bowman says, the city is retaining $10 million from the project's surplus as a contingency fund.

The City of Winnipeg expects the Waverley underpass project to be finished in August 2020.

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.