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More Winnipeg homes need flood protection: city

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The total number of Winnipeg properties undergoing some form of flood-protection has been upped to 175, as 35 homes on the south side of Winnipeg have been told to build foot-high sandbag dikes.

The city expects to use 200,000 more sandbags to protect homes in St. Norbert and South St. Vital, and place 50,000 sandbags in Kingston Crescent as part of an effort to  mitigate the effects of potential ice jams within the city, flood-protection manager Grant Mohr told reporters this afternoon.

A city call for volunteers to help build sandbag dikes has already netted 237 respondents, which is more than enough to help build dikes for 15 homeowners who have asked for assistance, emergency preparedness co-ordinator Randy Hull said.

The city is actually asking more homeowners who need assistance to come forward, Hull added.

The city is asking homeowners to build sandbag dikes up to a flood-protection level of 20.5 feet, which is well above the expected crest of the Red River later this month.

The extra height is required to protect properties against sudden rises in water levels due to ice jams, Mohr said. The probability of an ice jam occurring somewhere within the city is as high as 70 per cent, he surmised.

Portential trouble spots for ice jams are the South Perimeter Bridge, the Elm Park Bridge, the Louise Bridge and several railway bridges north of the Assiniboine River, Mohr added.

The city plans to position backhoes near the South Perimeter Bridge to break up ice along the shore of the Red River, if necessary.

The backhoes will then be moved north through the city to break up more ice, as needed, Mohr said.

The city is also continuing to use steamer trucks to defrost frozen culverts in open ditches, street maintenance manager Bruce McPhail said.
 
bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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