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Manitoba opens winter road system, but opening delayed for Pukatawagan ice road

Most of Manitoba’s winter road system is up and running for this season - except, it appears, for the road to Pukatawagan.
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Winter road.

Most of Manitoba’s winter road system is up and running for this season - except, it appears, for the road to Pukatawagan.

The only road leading to the community about 115 kilometres north of Flin Flon has not yet opened for the season and is currently not set to open until the end of this month. The road is listed by provincial highways service Manitoba 511 as still closed, with an anticipated opening date of between Feb. 28 and March 4.

“The winter road to Pukatawagan is anticipated to open by the end of February/early March based on feedback from the community’s contractor,” reads a statement on the situation from Manitoba Infrastructure.

“Several factors, including weather, ice crossings and ice thickness on some water bodies, have delayed the opening until conditions allow for safe travel. Manitoba is monitoring progress on the road.”

The Pukatwagan road, which branches off of the Sherridon road and goes over Kississing Lake, Crow Lake, Tait Lake and a series of other lakes and creeks before reaching the community, is only open during the winter months. For the rest of the year, Pukatawagan is inaccessible by road, only accessible by air, rail or boat.

The Pukatawagan road is now the only main Manitoba winter road that hasn't opened. The road running to Tadoule Lake, which was the second last road to officially open for the season, had officially opened to traffic as of late last week. 

Other winter roads, including the network of winter roads located east of Lake Winnipeg to communities like Oxford House, Red Sucker Lake and Garden Hill and the roads to Shamattawa, Ilford, York Landing, Brochet and Lac Brochet, have all opened for the season. As of Feb. 23, all those roads are listed as in either “good” or “fair” condition, according to Manitoba Infrastructure.

Travellers are asked to not travel on any winter roads until they are officially opened, to not park on ice roads at any time and that some sections of road may open first for trucks with reduced loads.