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City, industry to work on new road-building specs during 2020 season

MHCA offers to sponsor spec introduction seminar

Winnipeg’s Public Works department has committed to formalizing a working group with the industry including ACEC-MB, MHCA and UDI to consult on new road-building specifications, pilot testing of which will take place through the coming construction season.

The commitment was made public Tuesday at the Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works Committee meeting, at which numerous representatives in industries attached to road building expressed their views of the consultation process to date.

The city’s proposed specifications will change the gradation and type of aggregates to be used in constructing the base and sub-base of roads. As well, they will increase the number of sieve tests, the quality control and quality assurance process and introduce payment adjustments in the event, for example, that results of tests fail to meet the city’s specification standards for moisture and drainage.

To assist the working group’s review of the use of R21 in the coming construction season – to make further recommendations ahead of 2021 — the MHCA will be asking its contractor and aggregate supplier members to support the full sharing of testing data.

“We appreciate the commitments we heard being made on Tuesday and are optimistic that the consultation process, prior to new spec adoption for 2021, will lead to workable solutions,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.

“We all want to build good roads that last longer. The challenge has been how to do that in a way that industry can respond and adjust at all points of the construction process – from sourcing the aggregates, to testing at the quarry and at site and then, as construction is happening, how to get the test results back in a timely fashion so we can complete the project in time.”

Another point of contention was over the specifications for using recycled concrete as an aggregate product in building new roads. Initially, industry was concerned the proposed spec would all but eliminate recycled concrete as a material.

The department and industry will work together to ensure recycled concrete meets the specifications, so it can be used for some roads.

The MHCA has offered to host a seminar at the end of March or beginning of April at which the city could introduce the new specification to ACEC-MB, MHCA and UDI members. The offer was modelled on a successful day-long session held Wednesday with Manitoba Infrastructure to discuss its new specifications for highway construction.

As both the city and MI are adjusting their base & sub-base specifications, this creates an opportunity to resurrect discussions with the Municipal Infrastructure Chair to harmonize their specifications. The MHCA has made that suggestion to the City on its and UDI’s behalf.

“The more we can harmonize base material specifications as between the City and MI, the more cost-efficient will be the construction of roads and highways right across the province. It’s just another example of introducing ‘smart shopping’ to the design and construction of roads and highways,” said Lorenc.