Preamble: Provincial Highway 75 is the main north-south artery connecting much of western Canada to the United States and an integral part of the CentrePort concept for Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba. There are over 800,000 vehicles that pass through the Emerson/Pembina border crossing every year, nearly half of which are commercial vehicles. There is over $12 billion worth of raw materials, manufactured goods and grain that crosses annually. The vast majority of this is either coming from or going to Winnipeg and travels along highway 75 to get to its destination, making this a vital byway in our province.
Provincial Highway 75, however, runs parallel to the Red River which is prone to flooding during the spring. It has been closed off six times in the last 12 years, often for weeks at a time. While this has very tragic results to the local economies of the towns along its route, there is a much larger picture that is affected on a much larger scale. The flow of goods is diverted hundreds of kilometers adding to the cost of shipping (not to mention the environmental impact of extra fuel). There are often delays and, at times, cancellation of shipments due to the detours involved. The extra costs involved are mostly passed on to the consumer. Tourism, which is just getting warmed up for the season, is stalled as travelers find alternate routes. Many areas of all Manitoban’s lives are affected by even a small flood in the Red River Valley.
The main issue is the closing of Highway 75. Very little of the highway is ever actually submerged. In April 2009 there was only 10 miles (16 km) covered in water with most of it being only a few inches deep. Raising this portion of the highway would keep this main transportation link open in any flood to date.
This issue has been the subject of a Resolution of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce for a number of years. In responding to last year’s Resolution, Manitoba’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation reported that Highway 75 is the preferred route for transport. He also advised that a hydrology study is required before Highway 75 is raised.
Resolution: That the Government of Manitoba complete the aforementioned hydrology study with urgency.
Note: This Resolution carries on from a 2010-2011 Resolution. Click to access that history.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce produces Resolution reports as part of its commitment to be accountable to its members. The reports are updated as matters unfold and have two components:
MCC Advocacy: Specific activities the MCC has done to help make this Resolution a reality.
Developments: All other information (e.g. government action, media coverage, reports) that relates to Resolution.
Advice, comments, and information sharing are welcome; simply enter a reply at the bottom of this post.
May 15, 2011: The 2011-2012 Resolutions were posted on the MCC website, listed as part of a comprehensive Report on AGM 2011 and then notice of this story was circulated through a news release as well as in an MCC E-Update which is sent to all MCC members, Media and Government.
June 22, 2011: Resolution books were sent to every MLA and every Member of Parliament that hails from Manitoba. The following had this Resolution specifically drawn to their attention with a detailed letter setting out the background to this issue, Government initiatives (where applicable), and an argument for the Resolution:
- The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
May 17, 2011: A Winnipeg Free Press article entitled “Hwy. 75 reopens, truckers happy: Flood detour cost the industry millions — Dry spell over for Morris shop owners” touched upon this issue.
It stated, in part, as follows:
“The trucking association estimates about 1,000 trucks a day travel through the Canada-U.S. border crossing at Emerson and that the detour cost Manitoba’s trucking industry about $1.5 million a week in added fuel, labour and shipping costs.
In many cases in which long-term contracts are in place, those added costs can’t be passed on to their American customers, Payne said, because the customers don’t want to hear about highway problems in Manitoba. They want their goods delivered at the price set out in their contract.”
To read more click here.