Spring ice floes have shut down and damaged a bridge in the RM of Torch River.
Administrator Nathalie Hipkins told paNOW the bridge on Range Road 2150, just North of Highway 35 and the village of White Fox, suffered minor ice damage earlier this week.
It was subsequently closed to traffic.
“We noticed it about 8 a.m. yesterday morning,” Hipkins said Wednesday. “We do have a little bit of damage to the railing. It’s all iced up.”
Hipkins said it’s a fairly high-traffic route, adding it’s the primary highway access point for many local residents.
“We have barricades up and we do have a detour,” Hipkins said.
She could not say when the bridge might be reopened as there is little the rural municipality can do beyond waiting for the ice to melt and inspect the damage.
Patrick Boyle, spokesperson with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, said ice jams have created issues in several areas around the province – particularly in the Hudson Bay and Battle River areas.
“With spring runoff underway, floes are picking up in most of the systems across the province,” Boyle said. “Particularly in the North there where things are really starting to move.”
Boyle explained some rivers are more prone to ice jamming than others, adding it’s very difficult to react in time to prevent a jam.
While long-necked cranes can be used in some instances to break up ice, Boyle said in most cases the only option is to wait for the warm weather to melt away the ice.
“Exercise extreme caution if you’re working around or near the river,” Boyle said, noting ice floes are highly unstable and can present significant hazards.