Manitoba putting the brakes on winter road season

WINNIPEG — As the end of the winter season approaches, part of the winter road system in Manitoba is expected to be closed starting March 23 and the entire system will likely be closed by March 25.

The winter roads were operational for about six weeks, which is close to average.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux also announced improvements to the road network including the completion of two new bridges on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as well as the start of construction on a bridge at God’s Lake.

“We strive to keep this important winter road system open as long as safely possible each season and this year there was a considerable amount of freight delivered to communities in the north that otherwise have no road access,” explains Lemieux.

The overall budget to open and maintain the winter road system this season was a record $8.2 million. The cost of the two bridges, including installation, was $2 million.

“With our record funding, we are seeing many improvements to the road network including work toward all-weather roads,” said Lemieux. “We have seen the installation of two new bridges on the east side and I was also pleased to drive on our winter roads last week and see the work going on at the God’s Lake bridge project.”

The winter road system serves over 38,000 Manitobans in more than 20 communities that do not have permanent roads. Approximately 2,500 shipments are transported each year by commercial trucks from the south to the north on the winter road system including essential items such as fuel, groceries as well as construction materials and general freight.

The winter road system is primarily constructed over frozen lakes, rivers and muskeg. In the past few years, more than 600 kilometres of the system have been moved off ice surfaces and onto land to further improve safety and reduce environmental risks.

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