Red River flooding closes key Manitoba highway

Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:01pm EDT
 

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The main highway between North Dakota and the flooded Canadian province of Manitoba was set to close on Monday, but two rail lines remained open as the province prepared for the Red River's second-highest levels on record.

Highway 75 will close on Monday afternoon, the provincial government said. In 2009, when the Red River flooded at a comparable level, the highway stayed closed for 35 days.

A detour will likely add 100 kilometers (62 miles) to a trip from the provincial capital Winnipeg to the United States, said Geoff Sine, manager of the Manitoba Trucking Association.

That will cost about C$1.5 million (US$1.54 million) per week for the trucking industry, which wants to see a permanent solution to chronic flood problems, Sine said.

The highway is one of the busiest in Manitoba, carrying some 1,100 trucks a day.

Rail lines owned by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific from Winnipeg into the United States remain in service, spokesmen for the railways said.

The main freight carrier in North Dakota, BNSF Railway had four lines out of service on Monday due to flooding, the railway said.

All three railways are important carriers of the Red River Valley's crops, which include spring wheat and durum, although grain shipments are not very active at this time of year.   Continued...

 
<p>An abandoned barn is seen submerged near Great Bend, North Dakota April 12, 2011.REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>