Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 10, 2012


Improved Hydraulics, Structural Strength to Increase Icebreaking Capacity: Selinger

The province has added a new Amphibex AE 400 icebreaking machine to its ice-jam mitigation fleet, bolstering its ability to prevent and break up river ice jams, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

“The new Amphibex will replace the original machine and joins the two newest machines that have proven to be good investments in reducing the formation of ice jams by removing or breaking up ice in threatened areas,” said Selinger.  “Ice jams are unpredictable, but we know from experience that these machines can make a difference and are an important part of our overall flood-fighting efforts.” 

The Amphibex cost $1.2 million including about $60,000 to improve icebreaking capability such as improved structural strength and hydraulics.  The new 20-tonne machine will have a dedicated trailer to transport it between assignments.

Before the Amphibex machines take to the ice this spring, ice-cutting machines will be used to make cuts along and across rivers to weaken the ice.  The Amphibex will then break a channel to allow ice to move freely.

The current fleet of ice breaking equipment in Manitoba includes:

  • three Amphibexes,
  • seven ice cutters,
  • four Argo amphibious crew-shuttle vehicles, and
  • three trailers.

As a safety reminder for ice fishers, snowmobile enthusiasts and river users, notices will be posted prior to ice-cutting and breaking activities in areas where the machines will be working.  Higher flows during spring run-off can create ice jams and result in significant localized flooding.  Ice-jam-related flooding can also develop quickly and without warning.

Most recently, Amphibex machines were deployed in the preliminary development of the Lake St. Martin emergency channel last August, helping to clear swampland to establish a foothold for a marina to allow heavy equipment to be moved into the remote area.

The amphibious Amphibex icebreakers are a key part of Manitoba’s ice-jam mitigation strategy, the premier said.  The original Amphibex was acquired by North Red Community Water Maintenance Inc. in 2006.  That machine will be used by the corporation for dredging and other duties, and will be available if needed for icebreaking.  The corporation runs and maintains the equipment, which was acquired with provincial assistance by the rural municipalities of St. Andrews and St. Clements, and the City of Selkirk.  The province purchased more machines in 2009, 2010 and this year.  

“The first 2012 flood outlook is being developed now for release in late February,” said Selinger.  “We have seen the impact nature can have on our province so it is important to maintain Manitoba’s considerable flood-fighting abilities.  Once again we will work with municipalities, refine plans and assess equipment needs to prepare for what may be coming this spring.”

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