Winnipeg Area Transportation Study

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The Winnipeg Area Transportation Study, or W.A.T.S. as it is commonly known, is a regional transportation plan created during the administration of the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg.

Study Period[edit]

In 1962 Metro's Planning Division, headed by George Rich and Boris Hryhorczuk, set out to survey the daily commuting habits of metropolitan Winnipeg citizens.

They officially announced the creation of the WATS group on December 11, 1963.[1]

  • February 1966, Volume 1: Base Conditions released.
  • July 1966, Volume 2: Travel Analysis released.
  • September 1968, Volume 3: Recommendations released.

The Plan[edit]

The recommendations of the W.A.T.S. report was to construct 5 "radial" freeways, 1 suburban beltway, and 1 5.4 mile underground subway line.


  • Northern Freeway — scuttled after opposition from a local school in 1979–1980.
  • Southern Freeway — described in Plan Winnipeg literature as a "re-alignment" of Wilkes Ave.
  • Western Freeway
  • Eastern Freeway
  • Southeastern Freeway — would create a downtown bypass and link up with the Disraeli Freeway.
  • Suburban Beltway — a ring-road a few kilometres inside the Perimeter Highway.


The precursor to the planned subway line was the Norman D. Wilson report, Future Development of the Greater Winnipeg Transit System published on March 4, 1959.


In 1980-81 city transportation planners tried unsuccessfully to add the Northern Freeway to the city's five year Capital Budget. The Northern Freeway was to connect Sherbrook St. with McGregor St., creating the Sherbrook-McGregor Overpass. However, Sr. MacNamara of the Rossbrook House opposed this and City Council ultimately voted against it.

Instead, Winnipeg Transit purchased feeder buses built by Orion Bus Industries of Ontario via the Urban Transportation Assistance Program (UTAP). The first of these buses were delivered in July 1981.[2]

Another W.A.T.S. Freeway, the Southern, Sterling Lyon Parkway, which includes the Kenaston Underpass started construction in June 2004, and successfully completed in November 2006 at a cost of $43 million.


  1. ^ O'Malley, Martin (December 11, 1963). "Keep public transit wheels moving is the aim of WATS". The Winnipeg Tribune. 
  2. ^ Forsythe, John (July 27, 1981). "Transit Tom thumbing fuel guzzlers: Buses smaller; but so's fuel bill". The Winnipeg Sun. p. 8. 

External links[edit]