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MHCA to meet on Winnipeg roadbuilding spec changes

In contrast, provincial engagement on specs constructive, MHCA Board told

The heavy construction industry will join with the engineer consulting sector to review and decide next steps about the changes the City of Winnipeg made this week to the base and sub-base specifications, the MHCA Board of Directors heard Wednesday.

The spec changes were issued earlier this week by the Public Works Department, without notice to industry, introducing more changes to class, size and sieve testing of aggregates, which form the base of roads.

Immediately, concerns raised included the number and locations where test samples will be drawn, and penalties for falling outside of specifications. The MHCA Winnipeg and Aggregate Producers Committees will meet this week to assess impacts and consider the response.

In contrast, the Board was also told the MHCA Highways Committee is engaged in a constructive process with Manitoba Infrastructure regarding its proposed spec changes. A draft spec is to be circulated to industry for review and final sign-off by mid-February and in late February an information training session will be hosted for MI, ACEC-MB and MHCA to ensure an informed transition.

The Board has asked that MHCA pursue talks with the UofM Municipal Infrastructure Chair, MI, City of Winnipeg and ACEC-MB with the goal of harmonizing construction specifications between the two jurisdictions.

In addition to the spec changes, the board heard numerous updates, including:

  • The MHCA has been meeting with Winnipeg councilors, including those on City Council’s budget working group, to ensure that funding for the local and regional street repairs from the dedicated 2% annual tax is secure.
  • Further, discussions were had about securing the second tranche of the 2019 top up to the federal gas tax revenues – worth some $20.5 million in 2020 — for local streets, as indicated in Winnipeg’s 2019 budget vote.
  • Finance Minister Scott Fielding was briefed on the MHCA request that the province appoint a government-industry working group to review the current way investment in infrastructure is rolled out, with an eye to identifying investment priority for the highest return to the GDP. MHCA also raised the need for long-term infrastructure investment planning, an annual and five-year, rolling highways capital budget and the planned incremental increase to Highways Capital as committed to by the province over the next four years.
  • MHCA’s WORKSAFELY program has raised the safety of construction zone flaggers with industry partners, provincial and municipal officials and SAFE Work Manitoba. The frequency of dangerous incidents, where flaggers have been injured by motorists or experienced near misses, is an increasing concern.
  • MHCA’s membership continues to show strong growth and attendance at events continues to climb