The Disraeli Bridges Project has seen the rejuvenation of a critical piece of Winnipeg's transportation infrastructure, linking the north and south of the city, across the Red River.
The project involved upgrades to approximately two kilometers of road including; the Disraeli overpass that spans the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline, the four-lane Disraeli bridge crossing the Red River, and the approach streets. It also included the addition of a separate pedestrian/cycling corridor, the Active Transportation Bridge, across the Red River. This reflects the changing lifestyle of Winnipeggers, many of whom now prefer to bike and walk to work.
As the bridge is a main artery for Winnipeggers to cross the Red River, maintaining traffic flows during construction was a major consideration. Plenary and the city of Winnipeg adopted a solution to ensure a minimum of four lanes would remain open to traffic at rush hour, during the entirety of the construction period. This reduced the impact for affected businesses and the travelling public.
The project has ensured the modernization of this critical municipal infrastructure and provides the option of future expansion to six lanes.
Substantial Completion was achieved in October 2012, and the final phase of the Active Transportation Bridge opened in October 2013.
There are some aspects of this project which have made a significant contribution to Winnipeggers’ quality of life. The first is the addition of an Active Transportation Link, which allows cyclists and pedestrians to cross the river on their own bridge, without the additional car traffic.
The second is the inclusion of an art gallery which designed by local artists, makes the city’s great cultural heritage accessible to everyone.
At the onset of the procurement process, existing contamination on the Red River caused the Project to be essentially unbankable. In order to deliver fully committed financing and reach Financial Close on schedule, Plenary:
- worked with the City and PCL Constructors to arrive at an acceptable contamination risk allocation;
- consulted with local stakeholders to ensure all parties understood the work to be undertaken and were satisfied with contamination containment techniques as well as to satisfy lender due diligence queries; and
- commissioned additional due diligence reports to satisfy lender concerns.
The project was the first deal procured as a DBFM by the City of Winnipeg therefore, project documentation and procurement processes were not tested in the marketplace. Plenary developed a strong working relationship with the City of Winnipeg in order to progress the project through the procurement process and worked closely with the City to deliver a project proposal that exceeded their expectations.
Local economic impacts
The Project is one of Winnipeg's largest bridge projects to date. At the peak of construction, the Disraeli Bridges Project employed 120 construction workers at the site, daily. The vast majority of these construction jobs were filled by Winnipeggers.