News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 19, 2015


Focus Shifts to Sections of the Icelandic, Brokenhead and Fisher Rivers, as well as Portage Diversion to Reduce the Potential of Ice Jams: Minister Kostyshyn

Manitoba’s ice-jam mitigation program has concluded work in record time on the Red River north of Selkirk for this spring, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Kostyshyn said today.

“The ice-cutting or scoring units took to the ice Feb. 9, and the Amphibex icebreakers followed about a week later as the ice-jam mitigation fleet worked the heavy ice on the north Red River,” said Minister Kostyshyn.  “Experience has taught us that higher water flows during spring run-off and strong ice can create ice jams and result in significant localized flooding, and these scenarios can develop quickly and without warning.”

A total of 29 km of Red River ice was cut and broken, with some sections of ice up to 3.3 feet (one metre) thick.  All equipment will undergo regular maintenance as the ice-jam mitigation team prepares for its next mission on the Icelandic, Brokenhead and Fisher rivers as well as the Portage Diversion to reduce the potential of ice jams.

The current fleet of ice-jam mitigation equipment includes three Amphibex ice breakers, seven ice cutters, seven Argo amphibious crew shuttle vehicles, three Amphibex trailers and six trailers for ancillary equipment.  The Red River ice is on average three ft. thick (0.9 m), which is thicker than normal because of this winter’s cold spells and lack of snow cover.

This annual ice-jam mitigation operation helps minimize ice-jam flooding as much as possible and minimize the potential of ice damage to infrastructure, Minister Kostyshyn said.

The crews are specifically trained in safety procedures for the working conditions such as operating in frigid open water and during ice-jam events.  Public safety advisories were placed in Winnipeg and local newspapers warning of ice conditions and informing the public of the start of the program.  Warning signs are posted for a 30-km reach along both sides of the area of operations.  People not involved directly in the operation are asked to stay off the ice and away from all identified cutting and breaking areas for personal safety and the safety of first responders.

The RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements and the City of Selkirk formed the North Red Community Water Maintenance Inc., which operates and maintains Manitoba’s ice mitigation equipment with a seasonal crew of 30 people.  It also operates its own Amphibex, which is kept for use in a backup role if required.

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