Critical infrastructure in Manitoba’s oilpatch will see millions of dollars in road repairs and upgrades, Premier Greg Selinger announced yesterday.
During the premier’s State of the Province address at the Keystone Centre, Selinger said $29 million will be injected into the road network in the southwestern portion of the province — beginning this year.
"We understand the oil industry is very competitive and these road improvements will help Manitoba’s oil industry to remain competitive," Selinger said.
Included in the planned upgrades is Provincial Road 256, which has been called the "lifeblood" of moving oil into the Cromer area, where it can be transported east by rail or pipeline.
Last month, the Brandon Sun reported that Tundra Oil and Gas CEO Dan MacLean spoke to the Brandon Chamber of Commerce about the state of the roads in the oilpatch, specifically how PR 256 is paramount to the industry’s continued growth.
The industry and southwestern Manitoba municipalities have been lobbying the government for improving roadways, so Thursday’s announcement came as welcome news to many, including RM of Pipestone Reeve Ross Tycoles.
"It’s excellent," he said. "It’s good for the area, and long-awaited … I think between industry and the oil-producing municipalities, (the province has) been lobbied hard to get this going, so that’s great."
The premier said the projects will improve infrastructure for the "important economic activity" in southwest Manitoba.
"The petroleum and mineral industry provided jobs for more than 5,700 people, with another 18,000 employed in spinoff businesses," he said. "The value of petroleum and mineral production is around $3 billion each year."
PR 256 will undergo a grade, base and paving project from Highway 2 to Cromer.
"I think you’re going to see that that road will be something that everybody will feel meets their needs," Selinger said.
"Right now, this is a big commitment that was identified by everybody in the region and we’re working with the industry to take it to a level that meets everybody’s needs."
Structure replacements are slated for Highway 83 over Pipestone Creek north of Highway 2, and for PR 251, over the Souris River at Coulter.
The Trans-Canada Highway’s westbound lanes from Oak Lake to Virden will see a 21.9-kilometre asphalt pavement project.
Eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada from 13.2 km east of Highway 41 to Highway 83 will see a 17-kilometre high-performance chip seal application project.
The projects are part of Manitoba’s five year, $5.5-billion infrastructure plan.
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Long list of road improvement projects
The projects underway or starting in 2014-15 in Manitoba’s oilpatch range from resurfacing with chip seals and asphalt pavement to rehabilitating or replacing bridges and culverts:
- Trans-Canada Highway, westbound lanes from Oak Lake to Virden — a 21.9-kilometre asphalt pavement project;
- 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 9-km asphalt paving project, part of larger project to Roblin;
- Highway 83, from PR 255 to the Trans-Canada Highway — a 16.3-km microsurfacing project;
- Highway 83, from PR 355 to Highway 42 — a 17-km high-performance chip seal application;
- Highway 83, from the Trans-Canada to PR 467 — a 22-km high-performance chip seal application;
- Highway 83, over Pipestone Creek north of Highway 2 — structure replacement;
- PR 251, over the Souris River at Coulter — structure replacement;
- PR 255, from PR 256 to Highway 83 — spot grade improvements for 21.3 km;
- PR 256, from north of PR 255 to PR 257 — an 11.4-km microsurfacing project.
A further 13 projects are slated to start in future years, valued at $83 million, 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;
- PR 251, from Highway 21 to Waskada — an 18-km grade widening and seal coat project;
- PR 255, from PR 256 to Highway 83 — spot grade improvements along a 21.3-km section;
- PR 256, from Highway 2 to Cromer — 21.2-km grade, base and paving project;
- PR 545, from the Saskatchewan border to Highway 41 — an 8.9-km grading project;
- PR 579, from PR 478 to Highway 83 — 6.4-km spot grade improvement project.
» Province of Manitoba