Winnipeg shortlists three for Transitway P3

The $467m project, when completed, will be the biggest infrastructure undertaking to date in the Canadian city.

The city of Winnipeg, in the Canadian province of Manitoba, has announced the shortlisting of three consortia from a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) closed on November 21, 2014, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) the Southwest Rapid Transitway (Stage 2) and Pembina Highway Underpass Project. 

According to a related Winnipeg Transit release, the shortlisted proponents include: Plenary Roads Winnipeg, led by Plenary Group Canada, PCL Constructors Canada, and Alberta Highway Services (a division of ColasCanada); Red River Infrastructure Group, led by HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions North America, Ledcor Infrastructure Investments, Flatiron Constructors Canada, Ledcor CMI, Ledcor Alberta Limited, AECOM, and McElhanney; and WinnCity Transportation Partners, led by Aecon, Gracorp/Graham, and BBGI.

Stage 1 of the Southwest Rapid Transitway opened in April 2012 and connects downtown Winnipeg with nearby Pembina and Jubilee. Phase 2 of the project will extend the Transitway from Pembina and Jubilee south to the University of Manitoba. 

The project, when completed, will be the biggest infrastructure undertaking to date in Winnipeg. It includes extending Winnipeg's Bus Rapid Transit system by 7.6 kilometers, adding 10 transit stations, two park-and-ride facilities, two transit way bridges, an overpass, an underpass, and a tunnel. 

The Winnipeg Transit agency originally started working on Stage 2 of the Southwest Transitway when the Public Works Department was planning to widen the Pembina Highway Underpass at Jubilee, a project aimed at accommodating an additional northbound traffic lane as well as pedestrian and bicycle facilities in both directions. But since both projects require a significant amount of work in the same location, the city decided that the optimal plan would be to bundle the two projects together.

Another component of the Pembina Underpass project includes sewer/land drainage improvements in the Jubilee area to reduce the potential for flooding in the underpass. These improvements would be coordinated with the Cockburn-Calrossie sewer upgrade project that is currently underway, according to the Winnipeg Transit website. 

“When completed, the Stage 2 of the Southwest Transitway will allow Winnipeg Transit to bypass heavy traffic volumes on Pembina Highway, leading to greater on-time reliability, higher travel speeds, and improved service to the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Director of Transit Dave Wardrop in a previous release.

“Its completion will be a significant step forward in building the transportation network outlined in the city's Transportation Master Plan, and will help promote increased densification of the city by facilitating the future development of several large-scale infill transit-oriented developments.”

Total estimated cost of the project is C$590 million (€431 million; $467 million). Through the P3 Canada Fund, the Canadian federal government has committed C$137.3 million to the Southwest Transitway (Stage 2) portion of the project, and the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba will each commit C$225 million.

Of the committed funds, C$407.8 million will go to the Southwest Transitway (Stage 2) portion of the project, C$72.5 million will be used in the widening of the Pembina Highway Underpass, C$39.9 million will fund associated land drainage works, and C$69.4 million has been set aside for “construction contingency,” according to a city spokesperson.  

The next procurement step will be the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to each of the three shortlisted candidates. According to the release, bids will be assembled this year and the winning proponent will be selected and announced in early 2016.

With construction beginning later in the same year, the project is scheduled for completion in 2019, after which the preferred proponent will operate and maintain the transit way and underpass for 30 years before turning it over to the Winnipeg government in “as-new” condition.

The route is scheduled to be open to transit operations by April 2020.