Provincial Roads 280 and 290
Provincial Roads (PR) 280 and 290, in northern Manitoba, are owned and maintained by Manitoba Infrastructure.
We rely on these gravel roads to transport our workforce, equipment, and materials to facilities in the Gillam area, the Keewatinohk Converter Station (part of the Bipole III Transmission Line project), and the Keeyask Generating Station.
Neighbouring communities have expressed concerns about our project-related traffic on PR 280 and PR 290, with respect to speed, truck weights, convoys, and dust – each of which may affect driving and road conditions. We share these concerns. We’re taking a number of steps to reduce our impact on these roads and strengthen our relationships by working together with communities to address concerns, as outlined below.
Stay safe on the roads this winter. Find out current conditions before you travel at:
- Manitoba 511 - Road and Traveller Information website; call 511, or follow @MBGovRoads on Twitter.
- Road Conditions for PR 280 group on Facebook.
The RCMP are responsible for assessing weather and highway conditions, and make all decisions to close any road due to unsafe travelling conditions. Manitoba Infrastructure works with the RCMP to assist with closures.
Winter driving tips:
- Check the weather forecast and driving conditions before travelling.
- Delay or cancel your trip if travel is not recommended.
- Ensure your vehicle is in good winter driving condition.
- Completely clear all windows, mirrors and lights of snow and ice.
- Warm up your vehicle to prevent window fogging.
- Allow extra time for travelling.
- Carry a winter emergency car kit.
- If conditions worsen while driving, turn back or find a safe place to stop until the weather eases.
- Advise people of your departure, approximate travel time and the route you are taking.
Manitoba Hydro has also asked all of our staff and contractors to adhere to our winter driving expectations. This includes obeying posted speed limits; reducing speed when approaching oncoming vehicles; and leaving a distance of at least one kilometre between trucks and other vehicles.
View a detailed map of northern road and rail system (PDF, 952 KB).
- Since 2015, 42 kilometres of PR 280 have been reconstructed. An additional 12 kilometres will be completed in 2017.
- From June 16 to December 17, 2016, 5,750 trucks were scaled at the Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 6 weigh station prior to travelling on PR 280. Only 47 trucks did not comply with weight limits (less than 1 per cent).
- Between 2007 and 2016, traffic volumes have increased between 8 to 9 per cent each year on both PR 280 and PR 290.
- The segment of PR 280 with the highest traffic volumes is between PR 391 and Split Lake. In 2016, traffic counts were approximately 350 vehicles per day (15 per hour). Of the 350 vehicles per day, about 60 were large trucks (average of 2 to 3 per hour). These traffic counts are considered very low compared to other highways in Manitoba.
- Large trucks (5 axles and over) account for 15 to 20 per cent of all traffic on PR 280.
- Small passenger vehicles (i.e. cars and light trucks) account for approximately 80 per cent of vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit.
- The month with the heaviest traffic on PR 280 was March 2016, with an average of 238 small vehicles per day and 88 trucks per day (northbound and southbound combined). The month with the lightest traffic was May 2016, with an average of 146 small vehicles per day and 35 trucks per day (northbound and southbound combined).
View graphs of total traffic volumes since 2015 (PDF, 200 KB).
Investing in the roads
We are committed to helping the Province improve PR 280 and PR 290. We contribute funds to Manitoba Infrastructure to complete various road reconstruction projects and general maintenance. These contributions will continue through 2019.
Since 2009, we have made significant contributions towards road upgrades and maintenance, including:
- reconstruction of 42 kilometres of PR 280;
- an Augmented Maintenance Program (2015 to 2020) to support additional maintenance activities, including increased grading, traffic gravel application, dust abatement, and signage;
- operation of the existing weigh station on PTH 6, near Thompson, to address concerns related to truck weights and convoys. All of our project-related traffic is required to report to the weigh station before travelling on PR 280 and PR 290;
- installation of 5 traffic monitoring stations to track vehicle counts, vehicle types, and speeds.
Reducing our impact
We have developed a comprehensive transportation management plan to reduce the impacts of project traffic on PR 280 and PR 290. The plan includes:
- pre-hauling materials during the winter months;
- night hauling;
- reductions in truck traffic or reductions in truck weights during periods when the road condition is significantly deteriorated;
- operation of the weigh station;
- increased communication with staff, contractors, and other road users.
The initiatives being implemented under our plan will help reduce wear and tear on the road and allow Manitoba Infrastructure to better maintain the road condition.
Working with our neighbours
A PR 280 Joint Advisory Committee was formed by the Province in 2014, to provide a forum for community input into the planning of upgrades to PR 280. The committee includes representatives from Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Infrastructure, Manitoba Indigenous and Municipal Relations, and 5 neighbouring communities.
We have set clear driver expectations for all contractors travelling on PR 280 and PR 290 to:
- be courteous;
- obey posted speed limits;
- drive to road conditions;
- report to the weigh station to receive a scale ticket when report lights are flashing;
- hand in scale tickets at the project security gates;
- prevent convoys by leaving a minimum spacing of 1 kilometre between other trucks.
PTH 6 weigh station personnel and security gate personnel at the Keeyask and Keewatinohk project sites have been instructed to stagger the departure of trucks to minimize convoys.
To improve visibility and road safety, Manitoba Infrastructure applies a dust suppressant on the road surface to reduce the amount of dust being kicked up by traffic. Vehicles will face delays every now and then along their travels on PR 280 and PR 290 due to road conditions or construction.
Manitoba Infrastructure is responsible for the development of transportation policy and legislation, and for the management of the province’s vast infrastructure network. Additional information can be found on the Manitoba Infrastructure website, including guidelines for hauling oversized loads on PR 280 and PR 290.
Contact Manitoba Infrastructure, Northern Regional Office, Thompson: 204-677-6540.
Contact Manitoba Hydro: firstname.lastname@example.org.