News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 21, 2014


New Flood Protection Would Help keep Manitoba's Key Trade Route to U.S. Open: Premier Selinger

MORRIS—The Manitoba government will raise two bridges and sections of PTH 75 near Morris to help keep this critical commercial route to the U.S. open during major floods, Premier Greg Selinger announced here today. 

“After careful analysis of water flows and the regional geography, the government will rebuild two major bridges and raise parts of PTH 75 to reduce the impact of floods along the highway through Morris,” said Premier Selinger.  “A construction project of this magnitude will be built in phases over the next five years to minimize disruption to the town of Morris while getting the flood protection done as soon as possible.”

Work will start soon on the engineering plans to build a new, higher bridge over the Morris River at the north end of the town and a new, higher Plum River Bridge south of Morris near St. Jean Baptiste.  The bridge at Morris is the most prone to flooding and is the primary cause of closures to PTH 75.

 Approximately 26 km of highway north and south of Morris will be raised to keep the road above flood levels.  To minimize negative downstream consequences, the plan also calls for building new hydraulic openings in PTH 75, south of Aubigny, so water can flow from the west to the east in the event of a flood.

The premier noted raising the roads and rebuilding the bridges will cost approximately $200 million and create an estimated 2,200 jobs.

“PTH 75 is important not only for transportation and the economy of the region, but also brings tourist dollars to our community,” said Mayor Gavin van der Linde, Town of Morris.  “We will continue to work with the province on this important infrastructure project.”

“We have seen the impacts of flood waters in the region many times and this plan will help reduce the stress of losing the use of a major highway during major spring floods,” said Reeve Ralph Groening, Rural Municipality of Morris.  “This will be a major undertaking but the benefits will far outweigh any minor inconveniences during the construction period.”

The Red River Valley is protected by the floodway, the primary diking system, and community and individual ring dikes.  Upgrades to PTH 75 will allow area residents, tourists and the trucking industry to use the highway during most floods from the Emerson Port of Entry to Winnipeg.

“Highway 75 is our major trade corridor south to the U.S. and beyond, carrying over $19 billion worth of trade in a single year,” said Premier Selinger.  “Since 2007, we have invested over $131 million on the reconstruction of Highway 75 to ensure continued growth of Manitoba’s economy.”

Last year, the province rebuilt the northbound lanes of PTH 75 from PR 205 near Aubigny to 1.8 km north of PR 305 near Ste. Agathe.  The work involved completely rebuilding the roadway and constructing a new concrete surface with paved asphalt shoulders.  The project also included the reconstruction of the intersections at Ste. Agathe, PR 305 and Cheyenne Avenue.  Borland Construction was the primary contractor for the $25-million project, which began in May and created an estimated 285 jobs, the premier said.

“Preventing flooding of the highway near Morris isn’t as simple as raising the roadway, which could act as a dam during floods,” said Premier Selinger.  “It wasn’t as simple as raising the Morris Bridge, which could also have had negative affects downstream.  The new construction has to take into account water flows in the region around the highway.”

Since the 1950 flood, Manitoba has developed an extensive integrated flood protection system including floodways and diversions, dams, community ring dikes, in-line dikes and individual property flood protection.  The system kept Winnipeg safe during the 1997 flood, which devastated many communities upriver including Grand Forks, N.D., and Ste. Agathe.

The Manitoba government’s new five-year, $5.5-billion core infrastructure plan is supported with the one-cent-on-the-dollar PST increase.  The Conference Board of Canada has projected this plan will create 58,900 jobs over five years, boost the economy by $6.3 billion and boost exports by
$5.4 billion, the premier noted.


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