Changes to road-base specifications among MHCA priorities


Association top priority is sustainable highways funding strategy

The MHCA Board has asked that talks with Winnipeg be pursued on the outcomes of the two pilot projects that used revised specifications in road building this summer.

The new specs for the base and sub-base aggregates were used on Roblin Boulevard and on Fermor Avenue, a two-year re-construction and widening project. The proposed new specifications included the dimension, composition and the screening of aggregates.

The City and industry regarded the two construction projects as pilots.

The MHCA Board, at its meeting September 25, noted industry would like to understand how the rollout of the proposed specs went in 2019.

The Board of Directors was also told that similar spec reviews underway with Manitoba Infrastructure are continuing, with further discussions to come.

As its top priority, the MHCA will pursue talks to encourage the provincial government to strike a working group to consider a renewed investment strategy for Manitoba’s highways and bridges.

A provincial-industry working group could be mandated to reframe government-wide infrastructure investment approaches, to ensure trade-transportation assets support productivity and competitiveness with clear links to Manitoba’s economic-growth action plan. 

Other items on the table at the September 25 meeting included:

  • The MHCA is seeking additional information regarding the provincial government’s promised $50-million increase, over four years, to the Highways Capital budget. The increase is expected to be incremental, annual for a cumulative total of an additional $125 million.
  • The provincial pledge to release annual and five-year Highways Capital budgets. The Progressive Conservative party’s reply to an MHCA questionnaire, pledged to adopt such budget rollout, in the context of the government’s 10-year strategic capital investment plan.
  • MHCA has expressed concern about the City of Winnipeg’s use of reserves dedicated to street-renewal works for bridge works. The MHCA has asked for clarification on the impact of that decision on the street renewal program and identification of options.
  • MHCA will be encouraging all federal parties in the run-up to the October 21 election to commit to permanently doubling the municipal share of federal government gas-tax revenues and indexing annual increases by 3.5%.
  • Red River College’s heavy-duty mechanics technician program is looking to work more closely with the industry in placing students for in-course work experience, and to find jobs upon graduation. Further, it is adjusting its program format, so industry can send staff for upgrading on particular elements, rather than them having to enroll in the entire program.
  • The new WCB funding model for industry-based safety programs will see the levy for the MHCA WORKSAFELY program reduced to a 5% cap – down from the current floating 15%. The remaining funding for the program will flow from WCB itself. The premium surcharge reduction to 5% will see savings industry-wide in the order of $800,000, commencing in 2020.
  • Manitoba Metis Federation officials will be speaking to MHCA staff about partnerships to promote engagement in heavy construction work and careers. The MMF will present a brief overview of the history of Metis people, the historical impact of national Indigenous policies and laws on Metis rights and economic, social and political status.

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