Interchange at Highway 3 next step in transforming Winnipeg’s Perimeter into freeway

The province of Manitoba has announced the next step in a decades-long process to transform Winnipeg’s south Perimeter Highway into a freeway. 

At a news conference Tuesday, provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced the upcoming construction of a new diamond interchange at the busy intersection of the Perimeter Highway and Highway 3 — near Oak Bluff, just southwest of Winnipeg. 

The work is part of a long-term plan to increase safety and reduce travel delays on the south Perimeter, Schuler said.

“Over the next 10 years, Manitoba will be recognized as a national transportation hub, linking east to west, north to south, enabling strong economic activity within and across our borders,” he said at Tuesday’s news conference.

That means it’s important to improve safety at various intersections along the Perimeter Highway, Schuler said — including those with signal lights, like the Perimeter and Highway 3 intersection, and uncontrolled intersections, which have only stop signs.

“We are prepared to put our money, the people’s money, where it should be invested … and we’re on the way to removing all of the uncontrolled intersections,” on the Perimeter Highway, he said.

Uncontrolled intersections in particular pose a problem for motorists on highways with high speed limits. 

The government plans to spend $40 to $60 million on upgrading the intersections, Schuler said.

The province first announced plans to upgrade the Perimeter and Highway 3 intersection in 2018.

The new diamond interchange was also included in the province’s South Perimeter Design Study, a longer-term plan released last year that lays out two stages to upgrade the highway to a freeway standard — meaning no at-grade crossings, with intersecting roadways designed to be separated though interchanges and overpasses.

The first stage will include upgrading the south Perimeter Highway to a four-lane divided freeway and improving the highway, interchanges and bridges. 

The second stage will include upgrading the south Perimeter to a six-lane divided freeway, reconfiguring the existing highway and constructing new interchanges where needed.

Schuler said engineering work on the new interchange is planned to begin this fall, with construction scheduled to begin possibly in the fall of 2023, or at the latest in spring of 2024.

A design project for the north Perimeter Highway will begin later this year. The province also announced Tuesday that the results of a public engagement survey on proposed north Perimeter safety improvements have now been released.

The province has previously estimated it could take 20 to 30 years to complete the Perimeter Highway upgrades.

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