COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Passersby look at the portion of First Street North covered by floodwaters of the Assiniboine River on Sunday night. The closure — likely to remain in effect until at least July 17, when the river is expected to crest again — is taking a toll on motorists and area businesses.
Water gushing over First Street North will keep it closed for some time, inconveniencing motorists and affecting businesses.
The road closure was announced by the city on July 2 and officially closed on July 4, when the river level reached 1,178.75 feet above sea level. The river went up more than four feet from that level before cresting.
"I understand that it is not really something we can control, but it is still frustrating," said Eric Roncin of A&L Get Active, located on Rosser Avenue close to First Street.
Fewer customers have been coming into the fitness store since the street closure, he said. This is usually a busy time of year, but Roncin said it feels more like the end of season.
Patricia McClelland, manager of Fabricland on Rosser, has also seen fewer customers, but attributes it to the flood in general and not just the First Street closure.
"Most of our customers are rural, and if roads are closed in their area, they won’t come to the city," she said.
Commutes to work for both McClelland and Roncin are between 15 and 20 minutes longer due to the road closure. Traffic on 18th Street has been OK, although it can be a bit congested during peak times, they said.
Brandon Police Service Sgt. Larry Yanick continues to encourage motorists to find alternate routes in and out of the city to help keep traffic running smoothly.
The closed portion of First Street North will not be able to reopen until after the second crest expected around July 17, according to Allison Collins, director of communications for the city.
Roncin is concerned about longer-term damage.
"I am worried about the effect of the water on the road," he said. "Having that much water on it for weeks straight cannot be good for the road."
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation will assess the road after the water has receded, Collins said. First Street is a provincial jurisdiction.
» Twitter: @megan_lane2
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 8, 2014