Written by Michael BlumeMonday, Sep 13 2021, 5:00 AM
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Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris weighed in on the latest news about the west-end overpass replacement project. The project is not under the jurisdiction of the city of Portage, and is a Manitoba Infrastructure effort.
Ferris describes how the plans came to fruition.
"It's changed quite a bit," says Ferris. "There were original proposals, then they got feedback. They changed some. When we get our portion done on Saskatchewan Avenue, then you include the new bridge there. It's really going to make it look attractive when you come in from the West."
e="max-width: 770px; width: 100%; display: inline-block;" role="figure">FInal Plan. Notice a roundabout at each end of the overpass
The overpass was first built in 1968 as part of the PTH 1W by-pass around Portage. It is now over 50 years old and MI has determined that a full structure replacement is required.
East Roundabout"MI has selected a final design for the interchange and has shared this design with the RM of Portage la Prairie and the City of Portage la Prairie councils. Throughout the functional and preliminary design phases of the project, feedback was provided to the project team by key stakeholders and members of the public. This information was collected through direct meetings with affected stakeholders, public surveys, comments received, and conversations with those who attended the public open house. This information was provided to the design team to be incorporated into the project where possible."
West roundaboutMI notes feedback from stakeholders has caused changes to take place, including the news that fast-moving passenger vehicles have collided with slow-moving agricultural vehicles in the area. This moved MI to extend the westbound acceleration lane on PTH 1 to provide more merging length and visibility for slower moving agricultural vehicles.
It was also brought to MI's attention that the closure of the access at the south intersection of PTH 1 and Road 40W would add travel time for individuals accessing the properties to the south of PTH 1. So, the final design allows individuals to access properties south of PTH 1 through the proposed roundabout without adding significant travel time to their trip.
When participants inquired whether a right-in, right-out access could be maintained at the PTH 1 and Road 40W intersection, MI responded saying that a right-in, right-out access is not viable, as it would be located within the deceleration lane ramp exit to Portage, which creates a safety issue. However, this design provides reasonable access to the properties south of PTH 1.
Participants also inquired whether an extension of the south or north service road west with a new service road bridge crossing the Portage diversion could be accommodated as part of the design. MI noted that this would require a functional study of all roads and accesses west of the Portage diversion and is not being pursued at this time.
When participants asked whether the roundabouts could accommodate long combination vehicle (LCV) movements, MI informed them that the roundabouts will be designed to accommodate LCVs and typical agricultural equipment. As for the speed of agricultural equipment causing problems with faster moving vehicles, MI stated that reduced speed at the roundabouts will more closely match the speeds of all users.
The elevation of the new overpass will be 5.4 meters compared to a clearance of 4.9 meters of the current bridge. A new acceleration lane is added for eastbound traffic to facilitate safer merging at speed.
The first component of the interchange to be constructed will be the eastern roundabout.
When construction begins, the exit ramp from PTH 1 to PTH 1A Saskatchewan Avenue (shown in red) will be closed, requiring a temporary detour that will last about 6-8 weeks.
The above diagram shows the temporary detour route and the location of signage along PTH 1.
Traffic continuing west of the interchange on PTH 1 will be unaffected. During this initial construction period, westbound traffic on PTH 1 must transfer to Can Oat Drive (shown in green) to enter Portage la Prairie. Existing southbound traffic on Can Oat Drive travelling to PTH 1 must do so at Yellowquill Trail (shown in blue).
The completion of the eastern roundabout will see the next phase of construction of the interchange structure begin. To facilitate construction of the interchange structure, a new detour will be implemented throughout the remainder of the construction period. During this time, traffic on PTH 1 (the red and blue lines) will use one lane in each direction and the eastern roundabout. Those entering Portage la Prairie or exiting the city onto PTH 1 in either direction can also use the roundabout.
Local traffic south of the interchange will utilize the Service Road and Can Oat Drive (the green and yellow lines) for access during this period. This detour will remove all traffic from the PTH 1A overpass, such that work can be completed on the overpass structure unimpeded by traffic, allowing for a safer and faster construction process.