Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No quick fix in sight

Province closes Highway 83

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The province said it would wait to fix a section of Highway 83 near Asessippi Provincial Park that collapsed Sunday because the road is still heaving.

"It's still moving, so it's not going to be a quick fix," said Larry Halayko, director of contract services for Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation.

The collapsed section of the highway is 28 kilometres south of Roblin in the Shell River Valley, just north of the intersection with Highway 366 near Inglis.

As a result, the province closed Highway 83 between Highway 366 and Highway 5, at Roblin.

Halayko said he could not say when the road would be fixed, but added it could be closed for some time.

RM of Shellmouth Coun. Rick Goraluk said crews had been working to fix problems with Highway 83 for several days when a large section of road collapsed.

Goraluk said the hole is more than four metres deep in places, and he speculated a recent storm may have washed away part of the unstable highway.

"It's quite a mess," said Goraluk, who also operates the Asessippi Beach & Campground. "It looks like something you see after a California earthquake."

Halayko said the highway has been plagued with problems since it was built in the 1960s, and the department has been working on a solution.

He said the road's troubles are caused by its slope, accompanied by soil and moisture movement underneath the pavement.

"If you're building a sand castle and you build it too steep and add water, it's going to slough and slough," he said.

Halayko said the department would send a geotechnical engineer to assess the site, and crews would set up an official detour in the next few days.

Goraluk said the road had been dropping a few centimetres every day before the collapse.

"I don't think they can do anything until it stops moving. If you stand there, you can actually see dirt moving," he said. "It's been a problem for a long time."

Allison Zimmer, who lives in Inglis, was driving on the highway Saturday morning and noticed how much the road had dropped.

"I was a little nervous coming back," she said, adding the road had dropped about a half-metre. "You could tell it was starting to give way."

Goraluk's wife Karen said she's worried about the effect of the road closure on her family's business.

"Everyone coming from the south will have to be diverted," she said. "Of course we're concerned."

She said the closure will prevent people from going to the campground and neighbouring resorts, especially if they don't want to take gravel roads.

"It's going to be a long time before they fix it," she said.

The Asessippi Ski Area & Resort will close until July 13 because of the road collapse and recent rainfall, said Roz Pulo, director of marketing at the resort.

"It certainly has interfered with our traffic," she said, since the resort uses Highway 83 to transport water-tubers to a nearby river.

However, she said, because summer is a slower season, she isn't too worried.

She hopes the province comes up with a solution in time for the winter skiing season.

View Highway 83 collapse in a larger map


The province has closed a section of Highway 83 near Asessippi ski hill after it collapsed. The hole is more than four-metres deep in places. Photos courtesy of Karen Goraluk and Allison Zimmer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 A4

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