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Damaged First Street North partially re-opened

Some of the first traffic flows past damaged asphalt over the re-opened First Street North on Thursday afternoon. One lane in each direction has been opened to travel, some 20 days after it slipped under the waves of the rising Assiniboine River.

GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Some of the first traffic flows past damaged asphalt over the re-opened First Street North on Thursday afternoon. One lane in each direction has been opened to travel, some 20 days after it slipped under the waves of the rising Assiniboine River.

Commuters, breathe a sigh of relief: First Street North has partially re-opened.

A worker hauls away signs from First Street North near Kirkcaldy Drive on Thursday afternoon, as he helps re-open that stretch of First Street. One lane in each direction has been opened to travel, some 20 days after it slipped under the waves of the rising Assiniboine River.

Enlarge Image

A worker hauls away signs from First Street North near Kirkcaldy Drive on Thursday afternoon, as he helps re-open that stretch of First Street. One lane in each direction has been opened to travel, some 20 days after it slipped under the waves of the rising Assiniboine River. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

Although down to a single lane in each direction, traffic began flowing over the flood-damaged stretch of road early Thursday afternoon — nearly three full weeks after it was closed when water began lapping overtop of the pavement.

Motorists taking the re-opened route will find that slabs of asphalt have slid off of portions of the road, although the lanes that have been opened appear to be in alright shape.

On Tuesday, the province estimated that it might take a couple more weeks to do a full inspection on the road.

"It is looking like one lane is in much worse condition than the other," Herb Mahood, regional director with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, told the Sun earlier this week. He also stressed the importance of a full assessment of the First Street bridge. This year’s peak, which exceeded the former 2011 record, could have damaged the structure.

The Assiniboine River has now dropped to 1,177.1 feet above sea level, as measured by the city on Thursday morning. That's a drop of more than six feet since its peak on July 13.

The city closed First Street North on the morning of July 4, following a plan devised after the flood of 2011 that saw officials concentrate on protecting 18th Street North and Highway 110.

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