Winter-road network unsafe, province warns after fatality


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PROVINCIAL officials are reminding motorists to stay off the winter-road network after a 37-year-old man was killed earlier this week when his truck hit a patch of ice and rolled.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2011 (4055 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

PROVINCIAL officials are reminding motorists to stay off the winter-road network after a 37-year-old man was killed earlier this week when his truck hit a patch of ice and rolled.

Larry Halayko, Manitoba Infrastructure’s director of contract services, said the unseasonably warm weather has put the winter-road construction schedule behind at least a week, adding no one should be travelling on it until it’s officially opened in late January.

RCMP said John Weiss, 37, an evangelical missionary from Bloodvein First Nation, was travelling with his wife on a logging road early Tuesday morning when he lost control of his truck and it rolled and landed on its roof.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES The winter road to Poplar River. Warm weather has slowed progress.

The couple had been travelling from Pine Falls when the accident occurred. Weiss died at the scene.

Halayko said that logging road is part of the southern winter-road network that begins near Manigotagan, off Highway 304.

“Ideally, we like the temperature to be -20 to -30” for building winter roads, Halayko said. “Temperatures have been above normal right across the province so far, but there’s lots of winter left.”

Halayko said the winter-road network normally opens in the third week of January.

RCMP said Weiss’s wife was not injured. She was able to climb out of the truck and build a fire. She was alone for about two hours before a passing motorist picked her up and took her to the nursing station in Bloodvein.

In the Island Lake area, a bulldozer and backhoe are reported to have fallen through the ice and become stuck in muskeg while crews were building a winter road near Wasagamack.

The province spends about $9 million annually on a 2,200-kilometre-long spidery network of roads built over frozen lakes, rivers and muskeg, connecting 30,000 residents in 20 isolated communities to the provincial highway system.

Halayko said crews have been busy preparing the base of the routes this month.

The network is vital for bringing supplies to communities that do not have year-round road access. The province estimates there are about 2,500 shipments of staple items — fuel, groceries, construction materials — transported each year by commercial trucks from the south to the north on the system.

Winter roads

2,200 kilometres of a spidery network of roads built over lakes, rivers and muskeg.

Connecting 30,000 residents in 20 isolated communities.

Traditional opening is the third week of January, when the ice is thick enough.

Travellers on winter roads run the risk of being stranded. If that happens to you, the province advises to stay close to your vehicle and immediately build a fire.

Supplies that should be in your vehicle

Clothing — winter boots, pants and socks; parka or snowmobile suit; two-piece underwear; mitts, tuque or cap.

Food — chocolate or granola bars; freeze-dried food; nuts and raisins, sugar and salt; tea bags, soup, hot chocolate; K rations, hot-pac meals; water-purification tablets.

— source: Manitoba provincial government

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