Construction materials

New construction materials for Winnipeg pavement said to improve drainage and carbon footprint

Construction season is in full swing in Manitoba’s capital.

The City of Winnipeg is undertaking nearly 200 road construction projects this year, representing a total investment of $165 million to improve streets, lanes, sidewalks and active transportation routes.

More than 175 kilometers of infrastructure improvements are planned, and there are some significant changes in the way the changes are made.

A new granular base layer material has been introduced to improve runoff drainage, particularly in the spring and fall when freeze-thaw cycles are more frequent, said Ken Allen, communications coordinator for the city’s public works department.

“It’s really important that the drainage is efficient, and by improving the drainage on the granular base, we’re improving the durability of the pavement,” Allen said.

The subbase will be made up of varying sizes of granular material, but fewer fine particles are included in the mix to maximize drainage. The sub-base for the roads will not be as thick as projects completed in previous years, which means that construction crews will not have to dig deep holes in the roads.

Ken Allen, communications coordinator with the City of Winnipeg’s public works department, says new subgrade material used in road construction projects is expected to extend the life of roads by 5 to 15 per cent. (Darin Morash/CBC)

Allen couldn’t say if the new subbase would result in better profitability over a longer run, but he said less material was used.

He expects a 5-15% increase in the life of the city’s roads with the implementation of the new underlayment, which will result in improved durability and require less maintenance.

Additionally, a new type of concrete is being used for the first time this year with some projects: Portland limestone has a higher concentration of limestone, but more importantly, it will reduce the carbon footprint, potentially by up to 10% .

“It got better because it’s an innovation, and if we had the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint, we wanted to do that,” Allen said. “So when we analyze the specifications and materials we use for our road construction projects, some of these changes or improvements are a big step in the right direction.”

And while some Winnipeggers may lament the number of projects clogging the city’s roads, Allen said 150 to 200 construction projects is about average.

This is the fourth year that Winnipeg has received assistance from the Accelerated Regional Streets Renewal Project, in which the governments of Canada and Manitoba are each contributing up to $100 million. (Darin Morash/CBC)

The budgeted investment of $165 million is the highest ever, but it includes money from the provincial and federal governments through the Accelerated Regional Street Renewal program. This is the fourth year that Winnipeg has received funding of up to $100 million from the governments of Manitoba and Canada under the program.

“This annual road building program will rebuild and rehabilitate streets and active transportation routes to ensure safe, efficient and sustainable transportation options for all,” said the MP for Winnipeg South and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation. ‘Environment and Climate Change, Terry Duguid, in a press release. June 27.

This year’s road rehabilitation budget includes funding for portions of the following major construction projects:

  • Stafford Street from Corydon Avenue to Pembina Highway – $14 million.
  • Jubilee Avenue, Osborne Street to the Pembina Freeway – $13 million.
  • Mountain Avenue from Arlington Street to McPhillips Street – $10.5 million.
  • Smith Street, Notre Dame Avenue to Midtown Bridge – $9.2 million.
  • Nairn Avenue, Stadacona Street to Watt Street – $5.4 million.

Ahmed Shalaby worked with the city from 2016 to 2021, but is now a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Manitoba.

With the city, he led a group that engaged and collaborated with city, provincial and industry stakeholders on ways to deliver projects that would ensure roads last longer.

Ahmed Shalaby, a transportation engineering professor at the University of Manitoba, is optimistic that Winnipeg’s roads will improve as new materials and equipment are used in road construction projects. (Darin Morash/CBC)

Shalaby said Winnipeg has a unique problem when it comes to implementing change because it’s not close to any other major Canadian center.

“In order to implement new and innovative change, there has to be a certain amount of work to make that change happen,” he said. “So we have to take on a certain amount of work, and you can’t do that unless you have good information about whether it’s going to be successful or not.”

For the industry to invest in a new method or equipment, it needs to recoup its costs in about three to five years, and that requires a certain amount of work, Shalaby said.

Luckily, Winnipeg has a workload — although it’s at the mercy of the weather.

After a cool, soggy spring, extending the construction season by two weeks to November would improve construction productivity by about 8%, Shalaby said.

He hopes the city will have better roads in the future and he thinks the best roads are the safest roads.

Any road under construction is a good sign as far as Allen is concerned, despite potentially longer travel times.

“I love it,” he said. “When I see road construction going on, it warms my heart because I know there are smoother roads ahead for Winnipeggers.”

Road building — an unavoidable part of summer in Winnipeg

It’s a sea of ​​orange pylons on the streets of Winnipeg. As the roadwork season continues this summer, the city hopes new techniques will make driving and getting around Winnipeg easier.


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