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Cold spell aids in opening winter roads for remote Manitoba communities

WINNIPEG, Man. -- The majority of Manitoba's 2,200-kilometre winter road system serving northern and remote communi...

WINNIPEG, Man. — The majority of Manitoba’s 2,200-kilometre winter road system serving northern and remote communities is now open to commercial traffic, Ron Lemieux, Minister of Transportation and Government Services, announced today.

Approximately 2,000 shipments, primarily fuel, construction materials and general freight, are hauled by truck over the winter routes. The seasonal road system serves approximately 38,000 Manitobans not served by permanent roads in 28 communities, with the typical winter road season spanning eight to 10 weeks ending in March.

“We are delighted the weather has now allowed most of the winter road system to open and vital supplies are moving into northern communities,” said Lemieux. “There are still a couple of sections behind schedule due to the warm weather, but we are hoping this current cold trend will help complete the roads and get freight moving.”

The main delay for the winter roads has been the lack of sustained cold weather, hindering ice formation on lakes and streams, and preventing the bog areas from freezing sufficiently, which prevents heavier equipment from getting onto these areas. Provincial standards require the ice thickness to be a minimum of 35 inches (87 cm) for full loads (37,500 kg) to travel on the ice.

Despite the developments some sections of the winter road system are under load restrictions and roads into the communities of Pauingassi, Pukatawagan and Granville Lake have significant difficulties and are not expected to open until some time in late March.

Detailed information on road status is available on line at or at 1-877-MBRoads (1-877-627-6237).

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