WINNIPEG — Residents of Manitoba’s north officially have access to the 2,200-km winter road system, which is opened to commercial trucks and other vehicles on Feb. 2.
The winter road system opened about one week ahead of last year. Motorists should keep in mind however, some sections may have to be closed for repairs on short notice, due to changing weather conditions or performance of ongoing maintenance.
“Each year, these winter roads allow commercial trucks to bring about 2,500 shipments of needed staples like food and fuel to a large number of northern communities while at the same time providing road access for area residents,” said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux.
The typical winter road season lasts eight to 12 weeks ending in March. Opening of the system is dependent on the weather as is closing when ice begins to melt.
“Colder temperatures allowed construction crews to make good progress and the weather has resulted in ice thick enough to support the large trucks, however some routes have weight restrictions for the time being,” noted Lemieux.
The winter road system serves approximately 30,000 Manitobans in 23 communities in areas where there are no permanent roads.
Since 2001, more than 25 percent — or about 600 kilometres — of the system has been moved from lakes, rivers and creeks onto land to further improve safety, reduce environmental risks and promote sustainability.
The overall budget to open and maintain this system of winter roads is cost shared between the provincial and federal governments and increased this year to a total of $9 million. In addition, approximately $1 million will be spent on improvements to the winter road network.