Most winter roads now open in Manitoba

Northern communities can now get supplies delivered by truck

Most of Manitoba’s winter ice roads are open for the season.

Northern communities that are only connected to the south by air in summer now have access to the winter road system, which is usually open till mid-March, Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure said in a news release.

“It pretty much means a lot,” Barren Lands First Nation Chief Michael Sewap said. “That’s the only time to get our shipping for our projects for housing, to bring it by winter road.”

Barren Lands First Nation, also known as Brochet, is a remote northern community more than 330 km away from Thompson, Man.

Sewap said the road also offers community members a chance to make their way south for goods.

“It benefits a lot of community members,” he said. “That’s where they have the chance to go shopping to like Thompson or Winnipeg, because of the prices here, [they can] stock up.”

Winter roads serve 30,000 Manitobans in 22 communities who can now get essential goods delivered by truck.

The development of the winter roads was delayed seven to 10 days due to warmer than expected weather in December and January.

The roads in the northern part of the province were all open as of Feb. 4, and all but four of the roads farther south were also open on Monday, the news release said.

The 74-kilometre road from Red Sucker Lake Jct. to Red Sucker Lake is expected to open Monday or Tuesday.

The 16-kilometre stretch between Little Grand Rapids to Pauingassi and the one-kilometre Wasagamack road to the Northern Store are expected to open by Thursday at the latest.

The 294-kilometre road between Berens River and St. Theresa Point is expected to open by the end of the week.

The province and Ottawa shared the $9 million cost on a 50/50 basis.

The roads are used to make 2,500 shipments of goods yearly, including fuel, construction materials, heavy equipment and store supplies that can be stocked for use later in the year, when goods must be shipped by air.

The weather plays an important factor in the completion timeline, with warm weather delaying opening of the roads, which areĀ built over lakes and muskeg.