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Public Works

Empress Street and Overpass Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

The City of Winnipeg is renewing and rehabilitating the following roads: Empress Street, Empress Street East, Eastway, Westway and St. John Ambulance Way between Portage Avenue and St. Matthews Avenue. The project is anticipated to finish in summer 2020.


Updates

August 13, 2020 - Major roadwork on Empress Street has concluded which included pavement renewals, overpass rehabilitation and new cycling and pedestrian route.

The Empress Street and Overpass Reconstruction and Rehabilitation project was undertaken in phases over the last three years to minimize traffic disruptions. The project included pavement renewals, overpass rehabilitation, and a new cycling and pedestrian route. The project was primarily funded by the City's Capital Budget, with additional funding support of $921,000 from the Province of Manitoba, and $4.47 Million of Federal Gas Tax support. The overall project cost is approximately $23 million.

As part of the project, the Empress Street overpass was rehabilitated and new accessible pedestrian ramps on both the north and south side of Portage Avenue to Empress Street were constructed. This project enhanced connections to the surrounding area by incorporating new bicycle paths consistent with the City's Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies, and includes a new bi-directional protected bike lane along Empress Street from the Assiniboine River path that connects to the painted bike lanes on St. Matthews Avenue. There are also new protected bike lane connections to area businesses via Eastway and Westway. Slope stabilization work was undertaken along Omand's Creek and the Assiniboine River to accommodate the roadwork.

The majority of the landscaping for the project and the bridge preservation maintenance work is expected to be concluded by the end of September.

April 30, 2020 - Construction will resume on the Empress Street Overpass the week of May 4. Please view the April 2020 Construction Notice for information on traffic restrictions. Construction is expected to end by October 1, 2020.

November 22, 2019 - Work is now complete for the 2019 construction season. All lanes of Empress Street from St. John Ambulance Way to St. Matthews Street are now open. We expect to open all lanes of Portage Avenue at the Empress Underpass on December 9, 2019.

Construction on the active transportation pathway, landscaping work and remaining bridge rehabilitation will resume in 2020. Construction notices and information about lane closures will be available in the spring.

April 10, 2019 - Empress Street between Westway and St. John Ambulance Way is now closed to southbound traffic. The closure was initially planned for late April, but was accelerated today and is expected to last through November 29. Planned construction activities revealed an increase in the magnitude and quantity of works required underneath the overpass, and the decision was made to implement the closure now out of an abundance of caution. Northbound Empress Street over Portage Avenue remains open, and there is no risk to motorist safety presented by maintaining this lane. View construction notice.

January 21, 2019 - Rehabilitation of Empress St. from Jack Blick Ave. to Portage Ave., as well as Eastway and Westway is now complete. The next phase of construction is underway, with completion of the overall project anticipated in 2020.

November 23, 2018 - The public engagement summary from the latest open house and stakeholder session is now available.

October 11, 2018 - Thank you to those who attended the public open house on the Empress Street and Overpass Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project on October 10, 2018. For more information on the current status of the project and future plans for construction, review the open house boards.

September 20, 2018 - On September 20, 2018 Council approved a budget amendment increase of $2,934,000.00 for a total project budget of $22,834,000.00. The budget amendment includes a change in scope to add accessible pedestrian ramps from the Empress Overpass Bridge to both sides of Portage Avenue with an estimated budget requirement of $2,300,000. There will be an open house on October 10, 2018 to view the final design and find out more about construction.

Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Engage

Previous Activities

Fall 2018 Engagement

Open house – The community and public were invited to a public open house to view the project plans and construction schedule on open house boards and maps. There was also a hard copy and online comment form available from September 26 to October 24, 2018.

Stakeholder Come & Go Session - Local stakeholders attended an event on Monday, September 24, 2018 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. for an update on the project and to review the final design.

A public engagement summary of the information session and stakeholder session from the fall of 2018 is available on the documents tab.

Winter 2016/2017 Engagement

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.

Questions? Contact:
Scatliff+Miller+Murray 204-927-3444 winnipeg@scatliff.ca

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, please sign up for our newsletter.

Background

The City of Winnipeg is renewing and rehabilitating the following roads: Empress Street, Empress Street East, Eastway, Westway and St. John Ambulance Way between Portage Avenue and St. Matthews Avenue. The project is anticipated to finish in summer 2020.

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
Letter to Businesses and Residents 2018-07-23 Community Letters
Open house boards 2018-09-26 Storyboards
Final Design 2018-09-26 Map
Open house poster 2018-09-26 Community Letters
News release 2018-09-26 News Release
Canstar Ad 2018-09-26 Advertisements
Wolseley Leaf Ad 2018-09-26 Advertisements
Winnipeg Free Press Ad 2018-09-26 Advertisements
Public Engagement Summary 2018-11-27 Report
Letter to Businesses and Residents 2018-11-27 Community Letters
Letter to Businesses and Residents 2019-11-22 Community Letters
April 2020 Construction Notice 2020-04-30 Community Letters

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the budget for the project?
Total project budget is $22.83 million and is currently included in the City's five year capital budget forecast for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
When will construction occur?
Construction is ongoing, with the majority taking place in 2019 and projected completion in 2020.
Will Empress/Westway/Eastway remain open during construction?
Empress Street, Empress Street East, Westway and Eastway are expected to remain open during construction with one traffic lane available in each direction of travel.
Will access to businesses be affected?
Access to businesses will be maintained with short-term, temporary adjustments as required.
Will parking be affected during construction?
To facilitate the timely and cost-effective construction of the project, parking restrictions can be expected in the project area. We have informed area businesses of the timing and location of anticipated restrictions and asked them to pass along this information to customers who may be affected.
Will transit service be maintained?
Transit service is expected to be maintained during construction. Short term, temporary route detours and temporary bus stop re-locations may be required at various times during construction.
What improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities are planned?
Several pedestrian and cycling improvements are being implemented. These include:
  • Cycling and pedestrian facilities separated from motor vehicle traffic, along St. John Ambulance Way, the Empress Overpass, Empress Street East and Empress Street from Jack Blick Avenue to St. Matthews Avenue.
  • 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 study area.
  • Localized connections and intersection crossing improvements.

Any bicycle facilities would be compatible with future projects to continue building on the network.

Will waterways (Omand's Creek, Assiniboine River) be affected?
The need for some bank stabilization work is anticipated 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 the construction.
Will road construction be affected by COVID-19?

While the City continues to evaluate its services and projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic, road construction is considered an essential service by the Province of Manitoba and at this time is expected to proceed as planned with the following considerations:

  • Our contractors are working with their industry and public health officials to determine safe work procedures for construction sites.
  • In-person outreach and consultations to help us understand the needs of property owners adjacent to regional road renewals and other non-Capital projects will now be done remotely via phone, regular mail, email or other online channels.
  • We are evaluating options for public engagement on larger capital projects and looking at how to continue to stay connected to Winnipeggers and their feedback and input. Updates on specific projects and their timeleines will be provided once information is available.

We are doing our best to reach stakeholders in a timely and efficient manner but also understand that normal is changing every day and people may no longer be reachable where, or how, we once expected.

If you are a stakeholder on an upcoming project and have new or temporary contact information, please reach out to PWDCommunications@winnipeg.ca.

I own a property or run a business in the area of an upcoming construction project, but am currently staying home. How will I get the information I need and provide input on this project?

Please reach out to us. Send an email to PWDCommunications@winnipeg.ca and we will have the project team contact you.

Last update: August 20, 2020

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