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First Street North will flood, city works to protect 18th Street

» Assiniboine expected to go up 5 to 6 feet

City crews started protecting Grand Valley Road Wednesday morning, in anticipation of a big flood crest coming sometime next week on the Assiniboine. Grand Valley Road has been closed at 18th Street.

GRAEME BRUCE / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

City crews started protecting Grand Valley Road Wednesday morning, in anticipation of a big flood crest coming sometime next week on the Assiniboine. Grand Valley Road has been closed at 18th Street.

Authorities will let First Street North succumb to the rising Assiniboine River as they concentrate on protecting 18th Street from a sudden surge of water.

City emergency coordinator Brian Kayes says the city is preparing for a river surge of five to six feet.

Enlarge Image

City emergency coordinator Brian Kayes says the city is preparing for a river surge of five to six feet. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN)

Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst answers questions about the city's flood preparation efforts.

Enlarge Image

Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst answers questions about the city's flood preparation efforts. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN)

The Assiniboine is expected to rise and rise over the next week or so, reaching levels in Brandon that could come close to the record-busting flood of 2011.

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Brian Kayes, the city of Brandon's emergency coordinator, said that they are preparing for a very rapid increase in the river's level — possibly five or six feet. If it reaches the high side of that, he said, "chances are there will be water" on First Street North.

According to a provincial flood update released on Tuesday, the Assiniboine is expected to crest in Brandon sometime between Thursday, July 10 and Saturday, July 12, at a level a few inches shy of the 2011 peak.

The city says they expect it to be about a foot and a half lower than 2011 — and note that dikes have been built two feet higher than 2011.

The water is draining through Brandon after record-setting rainfalls through Westman and eastern Saskatchewan last weekend. When it gets here, the province expects to see Assiniboine levels will be about 13 cm lower than the 2011 peak. That would still be higher than previous floods in 1995, 1976 and 1923.

Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst says that the city is much further ahead than they were in 2011. She says an enquiry line has been set up, at 204-729-2186.

The city has already closed Grand Valley Road in preparation for diking along 18th Street North. Clay fill will be brought in to fill the dike at 18th Street North and Conservation Drive as well.

City crews will also be blocking storm sewers on the north side of the Assiniboine along Kirkcaldy Drive, and a dozen pumps will be placed along the dike system.

About 1,500 sandbags have already been filled, and the city says they are working on making 5,000 more, with 10,000 bags coming in from Winnipeg.

Highway 110 east of Brandon remains closed due to water over the road. A portion of Victoria Avenue East near Highway 110 is also closed. The city says they've also had to deal with overland flooding on Park Avenue East, at the airport and at the wastewater treatment plant.

Dozens of other stretches of road in the southwestern portion of Manitoba are also closed because of flooding. For an updated list of highway closures, check the provincial government road conditions map.

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