Major overpass near Portage re-opens
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Published: October 31st 2007

A major overpass on the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie re-opened this afternoon -- more than a year after it was closed to traffic for safety reasons.

Traffic had been rerouted through Portage in the fall of 2006 after highway officials closed the bridge over the CN rail lines on the east side of the city.

The new structure cost the province $7 million, while additional road improvements and the cost of the detour came in with an additional price tag of $5 million.

The overpass was redesigned and improvements were made to increase the height over the CN rail line, raising overhead clearances on the westbound traffic lanes and repaving the east and westbound approaches.

"We were able to make upgrades to the structure to better handle the needs of motorists, large trucks and the rail line, showing our commitment to improving our highways and infrastructure," said Ron Lemieux, Manitoba's infrastructure and transportation minister, who was on hand for the official reopening.

"The work was done on time, thanks to hard work by the construction crews and good weather."

In early October, 2006, a highway crew member noticed some flexing of the bridge deck during a routine check of the overpass. Further inspections prompted an immediate closure and led to the reconstruction project.

The move had shut the highway that rings Portage, forcing all motorists heading either east or west on the country's main thoroughfare to go straight through the city's downtown.

Lemieux made a point of thanking motorists, Portage-area residents and businesses for their patience during the year-long project.