GRANT HAMILTON/BRANDON SUN
Workers haul away signs from First Street North near Kirkcaldy Drive on Thursday afternoon as they reopen 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.
Commuters, breathe a sigh of relief: First Street North has partially reopened.
Some of the first traffic flows past damaged asphalt over the reopened street. (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 over the pavement.
Motorists taking the reopened route will find that slabs of asphalt have slid off portions of the road, although the lanes that have been opened appear to be in alright shape. There is no official drop to the speed limit, but there are caution signs advising slippery surfaces with a suggested speed of 40 km/h.
On Tuesday, the province estimated that it might take a couple more weeks to do a full inspection of 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 surpassed the former 2011 record, could have damaged the structure.
A flood update from the province on Thursday noted that there were more than 30 structures across Manitoba that will require replacement due to this summer’s flooding, and another 50 that they already know will need repairs.
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.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 25, 2014