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Public Works

Empress Street and Overpass Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

Empress Street and Empress Street East are regional streets and truck routes that are in need of renewal and rehabilitation. The Empress Street Overpass over Portage Avenue is in need of major rehabilitation. In 2016/2017, the City of Winnipeg conducted a study to plan for complete roadway and overpass improvements on these streets, while taking an opportunity to create new and also improve existing cycling and pedestrian facilities in the study area. The study developed a preliminary design for the project and a report was finalized in November of 2017.

Detailed design of the project is now underway with the first phase of construction scheduled to be undertaken in 2018, with completion of the overall project anticipated by 2020.

The City of Winnipeg is mindful that other street reconstruction projects, including St. James Street, are scheduled in the area in 2018. The amount of construction for the Empress project will be limited in 2018 with a focus on bank stabilization work and the rehabilitation of Empress Street (between Jack Blick Avenue and Portage Avenue), Westway, and Eastway. The majority of construction work on the project is planned for 2019 and will include the rehabilitation of the Empress Street Overpass, and the reconstruction of Empress Street (between Jack Blick Avenue and St Matthews Avenue) and Empress Street East. Access to local businesses will be maintained during the various stages of construction. Construction Notices will be issued as needed.


Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Engage

Previous Activities

Stakeholder Meetings - Meetings with local stakeholders took place from December 2016 through February 2017. The meetings introduced the project, discussed the project area and identified existing vehicular, pedestrian and cycling routes. Meeting participants reviewed the conceptual design ideas and options and were asked for their feedback. Input from participants was gathered regarding their preferences, needs, priorities and concerns.

Public Open House - Winnipeggers were invited to view preliminary design plans for significant improvements to roads and infrastructure surrounding CF Polo Park Shopping Centre at an open house on April 5, 2017 at the centre court of the mall. The event was geared to generate overall project awareness and to inform the public about the project using a series of story boards. Roughly 225 people stopped to view the concept drawing and discuss the plan with city staff and the project team. A total of 29 exit surveys were completed. An online survey was available on this website between March 23 and April 21, 2017. A total of 94 responses were collected.

A public engagement summary is now available under the documents tab.

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Background

In the coming years, the City of Winnipeg will be renewing and rehabilitating the following roads: Empress Street, Empress Street East, Eastway, Westway and St. John Ambulance Way between Portage Avenue and the St. Matthews Avenue.

The current design of Empress Street and Empress Street East were intended to accommodate large traffic volumes generated by public events at the former Winnipeg Arena and Winnipeg Stadium. Since these amenities no longer exist in this neighbourhood, short-term traffic volumes have been reduced. In response to current and projected future traffic volumes, the redevelopment of the area will improve the existing road network by reconfiguring traffic circulation in the area and eliminating obsolete traffic lanes. The remaining traffic lanes will be renewed and the Empress Street overpass will be rehabilitated. Slope stabilization work will occur along Omand’s Creek and the Assiniboine River to accommodate the roadwork.

After reviewing current traffic needs, the City of Winnipeg also identified opportunities to improve all modes of travel in the area. The current cycling facilities in the area are not well connected to the City's current cycling network. This project will take the opportunity to enhance connections to the surrounding area by incorporating new bicycle paths consistent with the City's Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies.

This project aims to increase the comfort and convenience for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, biking, driving or using transit, while renewing the infrastructure.

Documents

Document Name Date Type
Letter to Businesses and Residents 2018-03-12 Community Letters
News release 2017-03-22 News Release
Open House Story Boards 2017-03-22 Storyboards
Open House Poster 2017-03-22 Community Letters
Metro Advertisement 2017-03-29 Advertisements
Public Engagement Summary 2017-06-20 Report

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the budget for the project?
Total project budget is $ 20.2 million, with $17.4 million approved in the 2017 and 2018 Capital Budgets and an additional $2.5 million currently identified in the City’s five year capital budget forecast for 2019.
Will Empress/Westway/Eastway remain open during construction?
Empress Street, Empress Street East, Westway and Eastway are expected to remain open during construction with at least one travel lane available. Access to businesses will be maintained with as little disruption as possible. Minor adjustments and short term and temporary access restrictions may be required during construction to allow the overall project to proceed.
What improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities are being constructed?
Several pedestrian and cycling improvements are being included in the project. These include:
  • Cycling and pedestrian facilities separated from motor vehicle traffic, are being constructed along St. John Ambulance Way, the Empress Overpass, Empress Street East and Empress Street.
  • Connections to Bluestem Nature Park, St. Matthews Avenue Bikeway and the pathway between Wolseley Avenue West and Omand Park.
  • Improvements to sidewalks in the project area.
  • Localized connections and intersection crossing improvements.
The cycling facilities will be compatible with future projects to continue building on the network.
Will waterways (Omand’s Creek, Assiniboine River) be affected?
There is the need for some bank stabilization work along a short section of the Assiniboine River and along portions of Omand’s Creek, adjacent to Empress Street. The work is not expected to negatively impact either of these waterways during or after construction.
When will construction occur?
The bulk of construction is expected to take 2 years – 2018 and 2019, with some minor work such as completion of landscaping occurring in the spring of 2020. The City of Winnipeg is mindful that other street reconstruction projects, including St. James St., are scheduled in the area in 2018. The amount of construction for the Empress project will be limited in 2018 with a focus on bank stabilization work and the rehabilitation of Empress Street (between Jack Blick Ave and Portage Ave), Eastway and Westway. The majority of construction work on Empress St. and Empress St. East is planned for 2019.
Last update: March 26, 2018