The largest bridge construction project in the history of Winnipeg has opened on time and on budget, the Manitoba government says.
In a joint announcement including both the city and federal governments, the province says the new Disraeli Bridges, along with a bike and pedestrian bridge slated for completion next year, will enable traffic to flow more smoothly and safely.
“Rebuilding the Disraeli was a mammoth undertaking, completed on time and on budget,” Manitoba Premier Greg Slinger said.
Federal Minister of Transport Steven Fletcher said the new project will have a positive impact on the way people travel throughout the city while Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz noted that the bridges over the Red River are the main connection between Winnipeg’s downtown and northeastern areas for city residents.
Katz says good planning enabled the bridge to remain open at all times throughout construction with only minor disruptions to motorists.
The new bridges have replaced the original Disraeli bridges built in 1959/60, and will have a lifespan of 75 years.
Work began in 2010 after private consortium Plenary Roads Winnipeg won the contract for design, construction, financing and maintenance of the roadway under a ‘design-build-maintain’ agreement.
Under this arrangement, a type of Public-Private Partnership (P3) deal, Plenty Roads was made responsible for all costs associated with financing, design, construction and maintenance throughout the contract’s 30-year life span but will receive a commissioning payment and annual performance-based service payments from the city.
Key project features included:
- Two kilometres of new roads for the Disraeli Freeway, between Main Street and Hespeler Avenue
- New bridge structures to cross the Red River and Canadian Pacific mainline
- Reorganized and improved vehicular access and exit points
- Revitalized landscaping and entrance points for adjacent communities
- Improved lighting, landscape features and aesthetic elements to create a more attractive and residential atmosphere for adjoining neighbourhoods.
In addition to the bridges, work is underway on the final phase of the project, which will involve a pedestrian bridge that uses existing piers from the old Disraeli Bridge structure.
It is expected that the pedestrian bridge will be completed in the fall of 2014.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $195 million and is being provided through the Canada-Manitoba Tax Funding Agreement, through which municipalities in the province receive a share of federal gas tax revenues to support environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects.