Manitoba town cuts historic footbridge to save dike
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, July 3, 2011 8:02PM EDT
Officials were forced to sacrifice a historic swinging footbridge in Souris, Manitoba to save a dike that is protecting the community from surging water levels.
Mayor Darryl Jackson said the anchors holding the bridge cables could rip up the dike if the Souris River rose up over the bridge.
"The crest of the Souris River could come as early as Tuesday," Jackson said Sunday.
"That river is rushing so hard. We have never, ever seen this river flow this hard."
The bridge was built in 1904 and is a tourism attraction for the town.
Earlier, another 175 Canadian soldiers were called in on Sunday to help with flood control efforts as officials braced for the Souris River to crest in the coming days.
According to officials, the river is expected to crest to record levels by Tuesday. This will be the third expected crest for the river in the town this spring.
But there is some optimism that dikes are not only high enough, but are being reinforced.
On Saturday, a group of 200 soldiers based at CFB Shilo arrived in the southwestern Manitoba town. They joined at least 150 local residents already helping to reinforce sandbag dikes along the river.
Priority areas for fortification include the town's water and sewage treatment plants.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said he authorized the request for military personnel after the town asked the province for help.
"People in the community have been doing their best and we need to be sure we do all we can to prepare," Selinger said in a statement released Saturday.
As a precaution, about 200 residents have been evacuated from the town to hotels and trailers.
The town has been on flood watch on and off since April.
With files from CTV Winnipeg and The Canadian Press