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Slushy winter keeps trucks off winter roads

RED SUCKER LAKE, Man. -- Unseasonably warm weather is continuing to delay northern Manitoba ice road construction,...


RED SUCKER LAKE, Man. — Unseasonably warm weather is continuing to delay northern Manitoba ice road construction, leaving several northern communities isolated.

“We see this as an emergency. A this point we don’t know if we’ll be able to build a winter road,” says Wesley Harper, Chief of Red Sucker Lake, one of the northern communities lacking a lifeline to the south.

The northern reserves cannot afford the cost of air-freighted goods, and are still hoping for a cold spell that will allow for ice road construction and access for trucks.

“If there is no cold spell by the end of the month, that’s it,” says a concerned northern resident. “This is where we’d ask the government to declare a state of emergency.”

Five years ago, mild weather destroyed the ice roads, causing the feds to shell out $14.4 million in air transportation costs to get goods up north.

“Our worst was 1997-98, and the one this y ear looks like it might be as bad,” Don Kuryk, manager of technical services for Manitoba’s transportation department tells local media.

Manitoba has 2,200 kilometres of winter roads in the northern part of the province. Normally, they are built on a 73-centimetre bas of solid ice. If prayers are answered and a cold snap occurs, it will still take two weeks of road construction before the ice is truck-ready.


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