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Main Street South Redevelopment Made Official

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Travel on Main Street South in Dauphin will soon have a whole new look and feel as the province announced a reconstruction of the main south entrance into the city, last week.

The $13 million project has been in the works for several years and will change the way traffic navigates from the corner of Whitmore Avenue to Triangle Road.

“The project will consist of constructing a new service road on the west side of Main Street from the Co-op Gas Bar to tie into the existing service road in front of the Reit-Syd dealership. On the east side (the service road) will be extended all the way to triangle road, as well,” said Mike VanAlstyne, Dauphin’s director of Public Works and Operations.

“Main Street will be reconstructed and there will be intersection improvements at the mall and at Riverside Avenue. Then the third access point would be the intersection location of that new service road in front of the Best Western.”

All direct access to businesses along the stretch of road will be blocked with entrance coming off the new service roads.

Plans call for the entrance to Dauphin Marketplace Mall parking lot to be moved to the south and the intersection to be controlled by traffic signals.

“The other intersections will have to be analyzed after completion,” VanAlstyne said, adding he worked as the project lead during his time with Manitoba Infrastructure before joining city administration. “We’ve done simulations and run models and everything to try to determine where the traffic is going to go once this is in, however, it didn’t quite warrant signals at any of those other locations. But that could definitely change once users get using it. The computer only can figure out so much and everyone is going to use it differently, So within time there may be additional signals added,” he said.

The plan also calls for expansion of the street to four lanes all the way to Triangle Road and the installation of a raised centre median starting just south of Whitmore Avenue.

“The intent is to try to control, kind of try to limit those crossing locations, to try to control the traffic a little bit better and, hopefully, avoid some of the collisions we’ve seen over the years,” VanAlstyne said.

Access to the existing east side service road adjacent to Parkway Lanes will be eliminated for southbound traffic.

“So it will be right in, right out only,” VanAlstyne said. “Northbound traffic can turn right in and people can turn right out of fthe service road to go north.”

The work is expected to begin in the 2022-23 construction season and is expected to be completed before Dauphin hosts the Manitoba Summer Games in 2024.

VanAlstyne believes it would be Manitoba Infrastructure’s intent to advertise the project for tender sometime this fall or early winter so a contract can be awarded and the successful company can produce the necessary aggregate.

He noted, however, there is significant land acquisition which must be completed before the work can begin.

While he started the land acquisition process as a provincial employee, VanAlstyne said things got held up by procedure changes within government.

“We were never really able to get started until the project got a full approval. So that finally happened now so the land acquisition process can officially begin,” he said, adding the project is a priority for Manitoba Infrastructure.

“It’s going to be tight for time to get it done, but I understand that when I left it was a high priority waiting on approval. So I think they’re going to throw a lot of resources at it to try to get it done as quick as possible. But it could take a few months, for sure.”

The province has the power to appropriate the necessary land if needed.

When the work does begin it will be extremely disruptive and the hope is it can be completed in one construction season.

VanAlstyne expects the service roads will be completed first and traffic diverted onto them while the main roadwork takes place. The city’s role in the process will be minimal, he added.

“MI is going to manage the project and take control of it in that sense,” he said, adding the city will have some aspects included in the project such as new storm sewers. “Our intent, at least right now, would be to take advantage of a contractor being available . . . a little bit of economy of scale. So the city will have to enter into an agreement with MI to get that work done as part of the same contract. But that’s going to be about it. We’ll be there for some support when needed, but MI will be responsible for the construction work.”