Manitoba's premier made a few promises to Westman in a State of the Province address Thursday in Brandon.
Greg Selinger spoke over the lunch hour to Chamber of Commerce members at a packed luncheon in the Keystone Centre's UCT Pavilion.
Selinger said that the province would "work very closely with the city" to ensure that work on the Daly Overpass and the First Street Bridge would get done.
He also announced $30 million in new money to improve roads in Westman's oil patch — especially Highway 256 and some resurfacing of the Trans-Canada Highway. Details are below.
However, Selinger also said that a hog-barn moratorium would continue in the province, despite a slowdown at Brandon's Maple Leaf Foods plant, attributed to the lack of enough hogs in the province.
"There is lots of room to grow the industry," Selinger said.
The premier also pledged to have the province's budget balanced by the 2016–17 fiscal year.
Manitoba's oil patch will see millions of dollars in provincial road repairs and upgrades, the province announced today.
"These projects will create an improved road network for this important economic activity in southwest Manitoba," said Premier Greg Selinger in a news release that was distributed while he spoke at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce luncheon. "The petroleum and mineral industry provided jobs for more than 5,700 people, with another 18,000 employed in spinoff businesses. The value of petroleum and mineral production is around $3 billion each year."
The projects underway or starting in 2014-15 range from resurfacing with chip seals and asphalt pavement to rehabilitating or replacing bridges and culverts, totalling $29 million, and including:
- the Trans-Canada Highway, westbound lanes from Oak Lake to Virden — a 21.9-kilometre asphalt pavement project;
- the Trans-Canada Highway, eastbound lanes from 13.2 km east of Highway 41 to Highway 83 — a 17-km high-performance chip seal application project (chip seal is a surface treatment to smooth and extend the life of the road surface);
- Highway 83, from Highway 16 to Provincial Road 264 — a nine-km asphalt paving project, part of larger project to Roblin;
- Highway 83, from Provincial Road 255 to the Trans-Canada Highway — a 16.3-km microsurfacing project (microsurfacing is also a surface preservation treatment to improve the riding surface, fill wheel ruts and extend the life of the road surface;
- Highway 83, from Provincial Road 355 to Highway 42 — a 17-km high-performance chip seal application;
- Highway 83, from the Trans-Canada to Provincial Road 467 — a 22-km high-performance chip seal application;
- Highway 83, over Pipestone Creek north of Highway 2 — structure replacement*;
- Provincial Road 251, over the Souris River at Coulter — structure replacement*;
- Provincial Road 255, from Provincial Road 256 to Highway 83 — spot grade improvements for 21.3 km;
- Provincial Road 256, from north of Provincial Road 255 to Provincial Road 257 — an 11.4-km microsurfacing project;
Projects marked with an asterisk are expected to take more than one year to complete. A further 13 projects are slated to start in future years, valued at $83 million, and including:
- Highway 2 at Provincial Road 256 — intersection improvements;
- Highway 2, at the Saskatchewan border to Highway 83 — a 34-km paving project;
- Highway 2, over Stony Creek near Reston — structure replacement;
- Highway 3, over Graham Creek near Melita — structure replacement;
- Highway 21, from the U.S. border to 3.5 km south of Highway 3 — a 19.2-km paving project;
- Highway 41, from Highway 42 to two km south of Highway 16 — a 15.9-km paving project;
- Highway 83, from north of Highway 24 — a 13.8-km paving project;
- Highway 83, over Bosshill Creek south of Provincial Road 257 — structure replacement;
- Provincial Road 251, from Highway 21 to Waskada — an 18-km grade widening and seal coat project;
- Provincial Road 255, from Provincial Road 256 to Highway 83 — spot grade improvements along a 21.3-km section;
- Provincial Road 256, from Highway 2 to Cromer — a 21.2-km grade, base and paving project;
- Provincial Road 545, from the Saskatchewan border to Highway 41 — an 8.9-km grading project; and
- Provincial Road 579, from Provincial Road 478 to Highway 83 — a 6.4-km spot grade improvement project.
"We are continuing to meet with our oil industry partners to improve the road network using the new Commercial Infrastructure Fund to allow hauling of larger loads, making this important industry even more efficient," Selinger said "We understand the oil industry is very competitive and these road improvements will help Manitoba's oil industry to remain competitive."