Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation gave local residents a look at some of the progress being made on a redesign of Highway 75 near the Canada-U.S. border.
M-I-T hosted an open house at the Emerson Complex on Thursday to gather public feedback on its functional design study for a new highway approach to the border crossing.
Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are planning a future expansion eastward and westward at both the Emerson and Pembina ports of entry in a joint effort to accommodate increasing volumes of traffic.
M-I-T in cooperation with the North Dakota Department of Transportation are trying to determine how best to accommodate that expansion for traffic along Highway 75 in Manitoba and I-29 in North Dakota.
"The border crossing at Pembina and Emerson is the 5th busiest across Canada," said Walter Burdz, Executive Director of Highway Engineering for M-I-T. "It registers about $18.5 billion dollars in trade every year and sees about one-million vehicles a year and within 20 years that volume is projected to reach close to 2 million."
Burdz points out M-I-T engineers are looking at highway design options that will maintain and accommodate border services when it comes to throughput capacity and the cueing length as travellers approach the border.
The functional design study with a variety of proposals was on display in Emerson at yesterday's open house. The project is of particular interest to residents and businesses in Emerson because all the design options impact how motorists gain access to the town.
Burdz points out that a port redevelopment project of this size could normally take 8 to 10 years or more, but by having all the various agencies at the table from both Manitoba and North Dakota working together, integrating plans and communicating on a regular basis they've been able to shave about 2 years off the process.
"Really that's a made in Manitoba/North Dakota model that can be trumpeted and used in other border projects and something for us to be proud of."