Highway crews across the province have slowly been able to repair infrastructure damaged from overland flooding over the past 10 days.
In the latest flood update released on Sunday, the province advised the public that Highway 10 between Swan River and The Pas has been reopened to traffic.
Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure said bridges crossing the Pine, Steep Rock and Bell rivers were closed on May 14, following serious flooding in the Parkland region. The flooding caused significant damage to crossings and other infrastructure across the region.
Since May 14, there have been a number of successful reopenings including: repairs to the crossing at Steep Rock River, between Mafeking and the junction with Highway 77, completed on May 17 and both lanes of traffic are now open; repairs to the bridge at Pine River, between Ethelbert and Cowan, were completed May 21 and both lanes of traffic are now open; and further north, south of Mafeking, repairs to the crossing on the Bell River were completed May 21 and both lanes of traffic are also now open.
The province also noted the dike closure at the international border near Gretna was removed on May 20, when floodwaters from the Pembina River receded. Highway 30 and the Canadian port of entry at Gretna are now reopened to traffic. The corresponding United States port of entry at Neche is also reopened to traffic travelling to the U.S.
On Saturday, the province said floodwaters continued to rise around Manitoba and warned people to now avoid the Winnipeg River and Whiteshell Lakes area. The province stated property owners in these areas are to remain vigilant.
People are also being told to not travel into the Whiteshell Provincial Park area.
Many highways are flooded, making travel conditions treacherous. Manitoba Parks has ordered the evacuation of Whiteshell Provincial Park’s Betula Lake area, including all cottage subdivisions, commercial area, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails and beaches.
The Winnipeg River continues to experience very high flows and water levels due to significant volumes of water upstream in Ontario from Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul. The Winnipeg River is expected to crest in early June, the bulletin stated.
At this time, 41 states of local emergency have been declared across the province. Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization is working with all local authorities and emergency management partners to provide guidance and support for response and recovery activities, as well as Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in supporting ISC-led response measures with First Nation communities.
The province also reminds residents in the event of an emergency to have a preparedness plan and do everything they can to protect their homes and properties. Everyone should have a 72-hour emergency provisions kit and be ready to evacuate if needed. Do not try to cross fast-flowing rivers and avoid affected water bodies, low-lying areas, flooded land and follow all directions by local authorities.
A list of restricted lakes, boat launch closures, campground and trail closures is available at manitobaparks.com.
Manitoba Hydro has urged caution on and around rivers and lakes, especially near generating stations (hydro.mb.ca/articles/2022/05/manitoba_hydro_advises_extreme_caution_on_waterways/).
The utility measures water levels and flows on waterways contributing to the provincial hydro-electric system and provides a 14-day forecast at hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/.
» The Brandon Sun