Each day on my way to work I drive through the construction area at Lagimodiere Boulevard and the North Perimeter Highway.
Rather than get frustrated by the slight delays (which I’ve found to be minimal), I take advantage of the few extra minutes to observe the construction process.
With a child-like fascination I enjoy watching the large machinery at work, and there are a whole lot of cranes, bulldozers, pile drivers and trucks. I also find it interesting to witness the daily progression of this huge project.
Started in the fall of 2015, the “PTH 59 — PTH 101 Interchange construction project” is scheduled to be completed in 2018 at a projected cost of $203.9 million.
When finished, it will eliminate two existing sets of signal lights, to be replaced with a loop ramp system and improvements to the lanes approaching the interchange. This will alleviate traffic congestion (currently it’s the busiest intersection outside the city) and allow for anticipated traffic increases as infrastructure grows around the area.
Flatiron (Canadian Division) is the company that was chosen by Manitoba Infrastructure to operate this project.
This is a “design-build” project, whereby one company is responsible for the design, engineering and construction of the whole operation. According to the Flatiron website, the design-build model is more cost effective, and simpler to administrate.
Flatiron is the largest design-build firm in North America.
I’ve marveled at the seemingly massive undertaking of creating the landscape necessary to accommodate the changes. And no wonder — after the demolition of the pre-existing bridge, the project calls for seven precast girder bridges ranging from 40 to 100 metres in length, and 1.5 million cubic metres of soil and gravel to make up the interchange embankments. That’s one heck of a lot of earth-moving!
I’ve admired the unique artwork embedded on each of the bridge columns. They are about 1.25 metres square, and to me seem to represent an abstract aerial view of various prairie scenes. Some seem to represent farmers’ fields, others have rivers winding through them. Have a look and you’ll see what I mean.
Next time you pass through this intersection on the way to the beach or wherever your travels take you, take a moment to appreciate all the work that is being done to improve our driving safety in that area.
Previously printed in The Herald (with minor modifications)