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City bypass highlights regional highway plan

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 03/14/2018 10:00 AM

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It is seen as a "guiding document" to help the City of Steinbach with decision making for years to come. So, will the city's future then include a bypass, as was suggested in the Highway Access Management and Transportation Plan reviewed by city council on Tuesday night?

As Mayor Chris Goertzen noted at the council committee meeting, the subject is one that has been raised in the past, but just what form such a project would take has always been unclear.

"A bypass to where is the question," Goertzen said.

The mayor added past traffic data, for example, has shown that of all traffic entering the city from the north on Highway 12, only 15 to 20 percent of traffic ends up travelling through the city and continuing south.

The document was a collaborative effort between the city, RM of Hanover and the provincial highways department. The report’s bypass suggestion aimed at offering drivers another route, if headed to destinations north or west of the city.

Consultants suggested a bypass route be considered to run north from Industrial or Road 32E (Twin Creek Road) to Road 39N, then head east to connect to Highway 12 at its intersection with Provincial Road 311's eastern leg. The document suggested that east of Highway 12, PR 311 could also be considered for use as part of an expanded ring road around the city in the future too.

The report also pointed out adjustment proposals for service roads and private access along both highways, including the closure of some highway access and reconfiguration of existing intersections.

The need for traffic signalization was also identified at two area intersections. The report pointed to traffic counts at the Highway 12 intersection at Blumenort and Highway 52 intersection at Centre Street in Mitchell as two locations where traffic counts were at levels warranting traffic lights.

City manager Troy Warkentin said the cost of the traffic improvements totalled around $17 million for the regional plan, $3.5 million of which was related to city projects.

He said that costs for a bypass project would presumably be borne by the province, given its jurisdiction over the highways in question.

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