The province is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects to improve the Trans-Canada Highway, including significant investments on the Westman stretch of the highway.
Last week’s announcement by the province to bring the Trans-Canada Highway up to snuff included several ongoing projects, but it is still investigating a seal coat issue on the highway from 2011.
The province used a preservation seal coat with oil and sand in late 2011, which caused very slick driving conditions between Brandon and Virden. As a result, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation was forced to rough up the road and resurface the following summer.
Herb Mahood, MIT’s director of regional operations for southwestern Manitoba, said the latest unveiling to bring western Manitoba’s share of the Trans-Canada up to interstate highway standards doesn’t address that issue, since it was already resolved.
However, Mahood said the overly slick seal applied several years back is still an "open file" and it’s unclear if the province will take the hit to the pocketbook for the issue or the contractor involved.
"We’re still not entirely sure what the problem was, so there’s still an investigation. So it’s still an open file," Mahood said. "It might take a while. We learned a lesson as to when not to put it down," he said.
The seal coat was applied late in the construction season.
Meanwhile, the province’s latest announcement, which rounded up all the past, current and future work on the Trans-Canada, included 22 kilometres of paving on the westbound lanes starting near the east junction of PR 254 at Oak Lake all the way to King Street in Virden, which has been in need for some time.
"It’s been about 20 years, so it’s good we’re getting to that," Mahood said.
There will also be microsurfacing in various parts of Westman on the Trans-Canada, which is used for filling ruts that are caused by heavy trucks on older pavement.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 18, 2014