On-Site Magazine

Phase two of Freedom Road project underway

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February 5, 2018 by Jillian Morgan

Construction will soon start on the second phase of the Shoal Lake Band 40 all-weather road.

The $30 million road construction will link the community to the Trans-Canada Highway through the construction of a bridge over the City of Winnipeg Aqueduct, which is currently out for tender.

“For the people of Shoal Lake 40, building Freedom Road has been a declaration of our right to exist – a right to be included in Canada that we began asserting in 2003,” said Chief Erwin Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

“Without safe access, our community could not survive physically nor economically. Winnipeg’s water diversion took away our access so it’s fitting that Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada are part of our shared solution.”

The contract was awarded on Jan. 23, 2018, to Sigfusson Northern. Sigfusson also competed the first phase of the project.

It includes construction of 15 kilometres of new road embankment, and is cost-shared between the governments of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada.

The first phase of the project included roadwork on First Nation lands. Manitoba provincial staff designed and tendered the construction project last year on behalf of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and the federal government.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, according to the Manitoba government.

Shoal Lake No. 40 is a First Nation community straddling the Ontario-Manitoba boundary and has an on-reserve population of about 290 people.

It was cut off from the mainland in 1915 when a nearby channel was cut by the City of Winnipeg in order to bring drinking water to the city.

The First Nation has long sought a permanent all-weather road to provide the community with secure and constant access to essential services including water treatment and emergency medical services.

“For more than a century, the residents of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation have been without an all-weather road,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler. “This project is historic, long overdue and will be transformational for the community and the people who call it home.”


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