Winnipeg city council votes to reopen Portage and Main

Portage and Main will reopen to pedestrians as early as next summer after Winnipeg’s city council voted in favour of a motion on Thursday.

Mayor Scott Gillingham pushed to open the iconic intersection because of a $73 million price tag to fix a failing membrane protecting the underground concourse below.

During Thursday’s meeting, council voted 11-3 in favour of knocking down long-standing barricades to let people walk across the street. The reopening will coincide with the new Winnipeg Transit system.

A report said it would cost $73 million and five years of traffic delays from construction to repair a leaking membrane underneath the intersection.

“The decision in my mind now is to choose the practical alternative, to open the intersection to pedestrian traffic,” Gillingham said earlier in the day.

The underground circus will be decommissioned as a result.

Disability advocates have long called for the intersection to reopen and others say it’s difficult to navigate the intersection on foot.

Thursday’s decision comes years after a 2018 plebiscite where a majority of people voted to keep the intersection closed.

The plan before council included consultations with the Manitoba Trucking Association, as well as impacted business and property owners.

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