Stage 2 of the Southwest Rapid Transitway comprises a 7.2-kilometer extension that completes the route at the terminus at the University of Manitoba. It is a dual lane bus-only rapid transit facility that includes four new transitway overpass structures and nine new transit stations. Two of the stations have parking lots with 500 stalls to encourage commuters to use the rapid transit system to access downtown, the University of Manitoba and the university’s stadium.

The existing CN Rail twin mainline tracks needed to be relocated as part of this project. The relocation required the replacement of the Pembina Highway Underpass structure and construction of two new railway underpass structures. In addition, two bridges were constructed to provide a continuous active transportation route parallel to the transitway corridor.

The Pembina Underpass at Jubilee was also widened to accommodate three lanes each way and the addition of 4.5-meter-wide active transportation pathways.  Our teams developed comprehensive traffic management and phasing plans to maintain a minimum of two lanes of traffic in each direction.  

Two new pump stations and deep wet wells were constructed for the Pembina Highway and Wye Track underpasses. The Stadium Station included a bus loop that could handle up to 400 buses with mechanically stabilized earth access ramps and a plaza.

The project also required over that 200 utility conflicts be managed and relocated.

The completed Southwest Rapid Transitway provides University of Manitoba attendees and downtown Winnipeg commuters a faster trip. The project’s bus loop also greatly improves the fan experience at Blue Bombers football games and at concerts by significantly reducing times to reach and leave the stadium.

The nearby railway sees over 30 trains per day and construction near the tracks necessitated mitigation plans to limit the impact of construction interruptions to traveling trains. Construction activities required us to clear the tracks for 20 minutes within a 10-meter zone of the active tracks. Track blocks on the two mainline tracks were limited to six hours and required detailed work plans to be prepared, reviewed and submitted for acceptance by CN Rail months ahead of construction.

We prefabricated all track switches and tie-ins to minimize track blocks. We also prefabricated an entire through plate girder span and lifted it into place using a 620-ton crane to accelerate the construction process of the west track relocation.

The 200-meter-long Letellier Overpass Transitway structure crosses the track and construction required detailed segment erection plans to reduce track blocks. We used a steel box bent beam to span the track and connect the structure girders within the six-hour track block.  

At the Pembina Jubilee underpass, the tight site required us to phase track work, new rail structure and demolition of the existing rail bridge. The east abutment of the new rail underpass structure was constructed in two phases. Our teams erected the second phase of the abutment at the same time as the other girders to avoid having to shut down the mainlines and the Fort Rouge Yard access line.

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