Economic growth is driving more than $4 billion in provincial infrastructure investments over the next five years, the bulk of which – about 1,800 kilometres of road — will go to improving vital trade and transportation corridors, Minister Doyle Piwniuk told a press conference March 13.
Those investments include expanding the Trans-Canada Highway to four lanes from west of PR 301 to the Ontario border, a $60-million upgrade to Highway 75 with a structure replacement and concrete reconstruction on two stretches, and $40 million in upgrades on Highway 6, including twinning and passing lanes from the Perimeter to Grosse Isle.
The list, available here, includes 214 water-related projects including the $600-million Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin outlet channels.
An interactive map with the location and status of every project included in the strategy can be found here.
Piwniuk told the gathering of provincial ministers and officials, construction and transportation industry leaders and media the investment is positioning Manitoba to expand trade, noting that the province has to be ready to capture economic growth.
“Manitoba holds a unique economic position, with gateways linking our province to trade in the north, south, east and west,” he said.
“The 2023 Multi-year Infrastructure Investment Strategy provides a comprehensive picture of the department’s project initiatives that will build on our multimodal transportation hub and trade gateways as we continue working to ensure Manitobans have access to safe, reliable and sustainable infrastructure.”
MHCA President and CEO Chris Lorenc acted as emcee for the event held at St. Mary’s Road and the Perimeter, where an interchange is being built. The project is part of the bigger plan to upgrade the Perimeter to freeway status, including $151 million for a new interchange at St. Anne’s Road.
Lorenc called the event – revealing the province’s first five-year capital infrastructure investment plan – historic, and critical to growing Manitoba’s trade productivity and profile, nationally and internationally.
“Trade represents 53% of Manitoba’s GDP. That means more than half of our economy relies upon moving goods to and from market,” he noted.
“Our businesses, agricultural producers, manufacturers, our sizeable transportation industry – anyone who needs to import or export – all need reliable, efficient transportation corridors that are seamlessly connected to get their products in or out of the province, to customers in Canada, the US and Mexico or, increasingly, to global markets.”
Lorenc said Premier Heather Stefanson has been stalwart champion of trade corridor investment as part of the province’s economic growth agenda.
“Her vision and priority have been enabled by a commitment to this direction by Minister Piwniuk, supported by the department led by Deputy Minister Sarah Thiele.”
He laid out a list of dividends from the adoption of the five-year capital plan.
- Moving people to jobs and goods to market faster, cheaper and better.
- Expanding Manitoba’s regional, domestic and global trade profile.
- Sending a clear message to non-domestic site selectors and investors that Manitoba has a long-term transportation investment strategy and truly is open for business, especially investment supporting trade growth.
- Enabling industries such as heavy construction, supply and engineering to provide long-term, well-paying jobs for thousands of Manitobans.
- Allowing for the early sourcing by industry of materials and supplies, resulting in competitive bids which can reduce the capital cost of projects and expand the value of allocated budgets.
- Allowing Manitobans to see where priority projects will be built.