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Ice cleared, water flowing again in Riverton

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RIVERTON, Man. - Ice is moving freely below the bridge at Provincial Road 329, preventing the Icelandic River from overflowing its banks.

A state of emergency was declared in this Interlake community earlier today due to an ice jam at what locals call "the driving bridge."

The ice was butted up against the two bridges across the river, which normally flows uneventfully through the town of 600 located about 125 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

But about 5 a.m., the gathering ice caused the river to abruptly rise, according to spokesman Doug Anderson. By about 8 a.m. the town declared a state of emergency and began notifying residents close to the water to be prepared to evacuate.

An amphibex began cutting the ice at 9 a.m. River levels at the vehicle bridge are now beginning to recede.

A pedestrian bridge farther north was partly destroyed at about 6:30 a.m., said Harvey Johnson, who operated an excavator to help clear ice from the Icelandic River. Half the steel bride remains standing on the southeast side of the river. 

Just before noon, residents from elsewhere in the Interlake were strolling up to the bridge, snapping pictures of the tangled mass of metal with their smart phones.

Fire chief Jason Comeau said the state of emergency will remain in place as a precaution.

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM CDT: Adds photos.

11:35 AM: Updated: Ice jam cleared

12:46 PM: Adds more information on damaged bridge.

2:35 PM: Added Bart's byline, eliminated one paragraph as per instructions.

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