News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 28, 2015


Another Step Forward for All-season Road Access On the East Side of Lake Winnipeg

This summer, construction will start on a new bridge over the Pigeon River providing another critical link in the all-season road network, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, Ernie Gilroy, CEO of the Manitoba East Side Road Authority (ESRA), and Chief Jackie Everett, Berens River First Nation, announced today.

“The all-season road represents a bright future for First Nation families living on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and has created hundreds of good jobs and training opportunities,” said Minister Robinson.  “Our government will continue to support this historic project working side-by-side with the individual First Nations and ESRA.”

“The all-season road project is really coming together,” said Gilroy.  “None of the success we’ve seen to date would be possible if not for the support of the provincial government and the co-operation from the 13 First Nation communities on the east side.  As we move further and further along, you can see the excitement and enthusiasm among families in these communities.  It’s a remarkable project to be a part of.”

“Building the east side road is an exciting project for our community,” said Chief Everett.  “It has been an opportunity for us to develop meaningful partnerships creating training and job opportunities for our people.  It has helped mentor our people in the industry which in turn will lead to economic independence for the future.  As chief, my goal is to maximize every opportunity this project has.”

The Pigeon River bridge project was put out to open tender in May 2015 and recently awarded to Innovative Civil Constructors Inc., a company based out of Ontario.

Construction is expected to cost around $12 million and is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2016, the minister noted.  This will be the first of two crossings between the Bloodvein and Berens River First Nations.  The bridge will consist of two cast-in-place concrete abutments on bedrock, a centre pier built on steel piles drilled into bedrock, steel girders, concrete deck and associated road works.  It is expected that building this bridge will create approximately 50 jobs.

To date, more than 50 residents of the Berens River First Nation have received valuable job training for skills directly related to the construction of the all-season road, helping them secure good jobs in their home community.

These job opportunities are a direct result of ESRA’s commitment to ensuring the all-season road project benefits the east side communities.  Residents living in communities located within the vicinity of the construction are given first priority for these job opportunities.  Local hiring requirements have been mandated since the project began.  They are as follows:

  • 30 per cent for road construction tenders; and
  • 20 per cent for bridge construction tenders.

To date, 50 kilometres of all-season road up to Berens River First Nation has been built including four permanent bridges.  In addition to that, 92 km of additional right-of-way clearing has been done towards Berens River First Nation and 233 km of exploratory clearing has been completed along with three ACROW bridges, which are dramatically extending the winter road network in the Island Lake area.

Also, sinceJuly 2009, more than 300 First Nation residents living on the east side of Lake Winnipeg have received valuable job training allowing them to gain the skills necessary to obtain good jobs and help build the all-season road on either Community Benefit Agreement contracts or publically tendered contracts, the minister said.  Residents have received introduction to construction training, heavy equipment operator training, chainsaw training and skilled laborer training.  Minister Robinson added the all-season road network has created over 1,000 jobs in Manitoba.

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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this news release on behalf of the East Side Road Authority and the government of Manitoba.

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