Manitoba’s NDP government, which faces re-election in four months, plans to begin construction on a St. Norbert bypass road some time during the next five years.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton promised Thursday to begin planning a six-kilometre new stretch of Highway 75 that would run west of Pembina Highway and allow truck traffic to bypass St. Norbert, a residential neighbourhood.

The bypass, long desired by the trucking industry, would run between Pembina Highway just south of the city and the Perimeter Highway at Kenaston Boulevard.

The project would also involve the construction of a flyover at Pembina Highway, some form of crossing at the Brunkild Z-dike, a new bridge over La Salle River, pipeline crossings, more than a dozen land expropriations and a cloverleaf-style interchange at the Perimeter.

Ashton said this work would cost about $400 million and take up to 10 years to complete.

“We’re going to be building it to full highway standards. You won’t be slowing down to 50 kilometres an hour like you do currently. You’ll have a seamless connection through,” Ashton said at the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market site, where he was joined by trucking-company representatives and schoolchildren.

“This is strategic. It connects into Emerson, the busiest border crossing west of Windsor.”

Ashton suggested the Trudeau government may be interested in funding part of the project. Revenue raised from the PST hike will fund Manitoba’s portion of the bypass, the minister said.

Larry Halayko, executive director of construction and maintenance with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, said the 100-km/h St. Norbert bypass would siphon away roughly half the motor-vehicle traffic that currently uses Pembina Highway.

The province is also planning a Headingley bypass that would allow truck traffic to travel from the Trans-Canada Highway to CentrePort without stopping at lights. Work will begin on this bypass within three years, Ashton said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca