Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Plessis Road Underpass

CN 5793 crosses Plessis Road in Winnipeg

I started writing this months ago but never published it:
Several news items (CBC, Winnipeg Free Press 1 2) came out recently about a proposed widening of Plessis Road in Winnipeg north of Dugald, and an underpass to go under the CN mainline. The city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba will each chip in about 1/3 of the $77 million cost, and an application has been made to the federal Building Canada Fund for the remaining $25 million.

Now I see that the city is promising that construction is going to begin for an underpass this spring! Here's the city's information page about the project, or you can jump right to the PDF full of information about it.

Here's the gist of it. At present Plessis Road has two lanes between Dugald Road (a main east-west road south of the tracks) and Pandora Avenue north of the tracks, with a level crossing over the two-track CN Redditt subdivision. You can imagine that the rail line is busy with a few dozen trains blocking the crossing each day.

The city plans to dig an underpass (adding a rail bridge), widen two blocks of Plessis Road to four lanes, add some turning lanes on Dugald Road, and adding some sidewalks / bike paths. The project is projected to cost $77 million.

Plessis Road will be closed during construction for a year and a half. CN will have to build a shoo-fly track running south of the current main line to divert trains around the construction area, much like they did for the Kenaston / Route 90 underpass construction several years ago.
CN 5795 on shoofly track over Kenaston Boulevard

Personally, it doesn't affect me much since I don't live in the area but I'm sure residents will appreciate it. I still scratch my head and wonder why nothing was done when the nearby Perimeter / Dugald intersection was rebuilt a couple of years ago. There the same CN line (single track at that point) crosses the busy Perimeter Highway at grade and can potentially stop 100 km/hr traffic instead of the 50 km/hr traffic at Plessis. I'm puzzled by a lot of things that this city (and province) does and doesn't do.

Sources: CBC, Free Press 1 and 2

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