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Winnipeg’s construction season isn’t hitting the brakes until mid-November: city – Winnipeg

Bottlenecks, excavators and simmering impatience behind the wheel: Winnipeg’s construction season of more than 200 projects isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

“We haven’t had any notable weather delays this year, so things are going full steam ahead until freeze up,” Ken Allen with the city’s public works department said Wednesday.

And that’ll be around mid-November, he said.

Eighty-seven per cent of all contracted city roadwork is expected to be done by the end of the season, including large regional routes like Jubilee Avenue from Osborne to Pembina and Stafford Street from Corydon to Pembina, according to a city report obtained by Global News.

Regional ones are being given priority over local streets — dozens of which have yet to be started. Some of those may be carried over until next season, while others will be wrapped up before the snow flies.

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Despite labour shortages, companies aren’t biting off more than they can chew, Chris Lorenc with the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association told Global News on Wednesday.

“Sometimes when you see a project and there’s nobody there, it’s because we are waiting for locates, or we’re waiting for utilities to be moved, or we’re waiting for concrete to cure, so it’s not like we’re abandoning the construction sites,” Lorenc said.

“Each company is aware at the time that they’re responding to a bid opportunity, what work they have, what work they think they’re going to get, whether or not the particular project they’re bidding for is going to come their way,” he said. “It’s a matter of constant risk management … and by and large, we get the work done on time and on budget.”

The city imposes daily fines between $1,500 to $5,000 a day when projects aren’t completed on time, Coun. Janice Lukes said.

While Winnipeg’s construction choices may not please everyone, Lukes, who chairs the city’s public works committee, told Global News this season’s record $159 million are best spent this year, before inflation eats into their budget.

“It’s frustrating, but I’m confident the city is doing the best they can. I would like to see improved communication, and I would like to see really strict timelines,” Lukes said.

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“We’ve had some significant delays with (Manitoba Hydro) showing up for sure, and then the contractors that open up the cuts have to go back and close it up when the work’s done. I’d like to see a little stricter window.”

On the upside, roads like Jubilee Avenue should be in good shape for decades to come, Allen said.

In the meantime, he’s asking drivers to give themselves extra time, plan alternative routes and respect the rules of the road.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg businesses suffer significant losses amid prolonged construction woes'

Winnipeg businesses suffer significant losses amid prolonged construction woes

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