Saskatchewan looks to protect roads from floods

Thu Apr 7, 2011 12:35pm EDT
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Floods from melting snow could damage highways and bridges in Saskatchewan, the government of the Western Canada farm province said on Thursday.

Record rains last year left the ground saturated in the autumn, followed by heavy snowfall this winter.

Excessive moisture delayed crop maturity and downgraded quality, while farmers were unable to plant on millions of acres.

The Saskatchewan Highways Department said it has brought in steaming equipment as well as pumps and water tanks to thaw out frozen culverts to help drainage.

Last year, big sections of Saskatchewan's highway network were flooded, including a stretch of Canada's main national highway near Alberta.

Saskatchewan expects well above normal flooding in the eastern part of the province, a key growing area for canola and oats, and higher than usual flooding across the southern half of the province.

Parts of the neighboring provinces of Manitoba and Alberta also expect spring flooding.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Peter Galloway)