East Side Transportation Initiative

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Ranking for 2018: 50

Industry Sector: Transportation

Specific Sector: Highway

Range: $1 billion - $5 billion

Project Value: $1,125,000,000

Provincial: $1.125 billion

Government Funds Involved: The full budget is $3 billion (the value assigned to the project in 2014’s Top 100), but the East Side Road Authority said only $1.125 billion has been committed by the provincial government so far. Discussions are underway with the federal government regarding federal involvement in the project.

Funding Source: Public

Location: Eastern Manitoba, Manitoba

Estimated End Date of Substantial Completion: 2041


This all-season road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg is a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar project. In 2000, the communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg delivered a report with recommendations on where government should focus their long-range planning activities, including increased economic development opportunities and improvements to the transportation network. Construction has been guided through the East Side Transportation Initiative, launched following the East Side Large Area Transportation Network Study undertaken by SNC-Lavalin/AECOM. It is a strategic initiative to provide improved, safe, and more reliable transportation service to remote and isolated communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. The final report of the Large Area Transportation Network Study was completed in June 2011 and recommended an all-season road network for the region that is estimated at 1,028 km in length costing $3 billion.

The first step in the project is building the 156-kilometre road that runs from PR304 to Berens River—a massive undertaking consisting of 23 individual road segments and nine bridges. To date, 50 kilometres of all-season road up to Berens River First Nation has been constructed, including four permanent bridges. In addition to that, 92 kilometres of additional right-of-way clearing has been done toward Berens River First Nation, and 233 kilometres of exploratory clearing has been completed and three bridges have been installed, which dramatically extend the winter road network in the Island Lake area of Manitoba’s north.

Since July 2009, over 300 First Nation residents living on the east side of Lake Winnipeg have received valuable job training, allowing them to gain the skills necessary to obtain good jobs and help build the all-season road. Further to that, the all-season road has created over 1,000 jobs in Manitoba.

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