The goal of redeveloping the Trans-Canada Highway through Brandon is to make the roadway free-flowing and much safer for motorists, according to an official with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation.
“Once it’s complete and we have the interchanges built, people travelling in any direction won’t have to stop,” MIT regional director Herb Mahood said. “It’s much safer … It will avoid high-speed intersections, that’s the main objective.”
The long-term plan for the project was laid out in 2002 when Earth Tech engineering completed the Functional Design Study of P.T.H. 1 West and Connecting Highways to Brandon. Eleven years later, the project is still in the very early stages.
“We’re just at the beginning point because we have a lot of other priorities going on at this stage of the game,” Mahood said.
The estimated cost, in 2002 dollars, was in the range of $56 million. At that time, according to Mahood, it was estimated the project would take 35 to 40 years to complete.
Eight stages were laid out, which ultimately leads to the development of interchanges at 18th and First streets. The intersections would be relocated, requiring both 18th and First streets to be realigned.
The plan calls for the reconstruction of approximately five kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway. About 4.5 kilometres of First Street will require reconstruction, as will approximately 1.8 kilometres of 18th Street, to be constructed as four-lane divided roadways. The existing roadways on First and 18th streets will continue to operate as collector streets, serving existing commercial and residential developments.
The first stage includes the construction of two new service roads, the first of which was completed July 24. The North Service Road is located off Highway 10 just north of Barney’s Motel and spans 1.3 kilometres to Deer Ridge Road.
The existing frontage roads will eventually be abandoned when the Trans-Canada Highway is reconstructed with a wider median.
Mahood said there is no timeline yet for when the South Service Road will be built.
“I’d like to see it done sooner, but I don’t have a plan for it yet, I don’t have a schedule for it yet,” he said.
As for a timeline for the entire project, it’s still estimated at 20 to 25 years. Mahood said it all depends on funding.
“A lot of that will depend on whether or not we’re going to have federal government participating in the funding because it is a national highway,” he said. “And of course because it is a national highway, they’re not crazy about traffic signals, they would prefer free-flowing traffic on the Trans-Canada with interchanges, but at this point there is no federal participation on this project.”
If the federal government does decide to help fund the project, then the schedule would likely be accelerated, according to Mahood.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 17, 2013