Highway closure could sink Manitoba truckers

WINNIPEG — Rising flood waters in Manitoba closed a major highway in the province and navigating the detour route will cost the trucking industry millions of dollars.

According to a story in the Winnipeg Free Press, the entire stretch of Highway 75 from Winnipeg to Highway 14 was closed yesterday, and could stay that way for more than two weeks.

The alternate route in effect will be to use Highways 3 to Winkler, then east on Highway 14, before joining up with Highway 75 south. All closures are signed and marked and detour signs are in place to direct traffic.

The Manitoba Trucking Association estimates that carriers relying on Highway 75 to transport goods back and forth across the Canada/U.S. border will add an extra $1.5 million per week in costs.

Bob Dolyniuk, general manager of the MTA, told the local media that the 100 km detour would add $400 for each roundtrip. That could put the cost to the trucking industry at more than $3.5 million — something that Dolyniuk said it cannot — and will not — absorb.

"We’ve already had indications from some of the larger responsible shippers that they recognize there’s an increased cost (because of the detour) and they recognize that trucking companies will have to be paid extra for these costs," he said.

Truckers can’t use Highway 59 as an alternative because of spring weight restrictions on that road between St. Malo and the U.S. border.

In 2006, flooding caused Highway 75 to be closed for 18 days during April.

Earlier this year, a fire to a bridge in B.C.’s Lower Mainland closed the structure for about a week causing significant strain on the region’s travel times. The B.C. Trucking Association at the time said the closure would cost the local trucking industry millions of dollars in lost time and wasted fuel.
 

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