Winter road system opens up, some routes still shut

Recent cold weather has had one silver lining for some Manitobans, with the province’s winter road system taking shape.

The closest winter road to Flin Flon, stretching from Pukatawagan to near Sherridon and eventually to Highway 10, has opened for the season. Ice levels on Kississing Lake and other bodies of water are sufficient to allow vehicles less than 26,000 kg in overall weight to drive the road.

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Some long stretches of winter roads remain unopened as of press time. The province’s northernmost roadways, connecting Tadoule Lake and Lac Brochet to another winter road near Brochet, are not yet open for transit.

Further south, another stretch from Bloodvein First Nation to Pauingassi has also not been formally announced as safe. The stretch from Garden Hill to Red Sucker Lake junction is also still not open. According to the provincial highways ministry, these closed stretches are anticipated to open in early February.

No winter road has been built to Churchill this season due to the resuming of rail transport to the community late last year. With the rail line out of commission last winter, a road to the remote town was made to truck supplies after the freeze.

Each year, Manitoba Infrastructure builds and maintains about 2,200 km of winter roads, allowing an on-land connection with communities without typical road links in remote areas. The communities are only reachable through air or water for the rest of the year.

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