Two Amphibex ice breaking machines, including a new, more powerful machine better designed to tackle Manitoba’s winter ice conditions, have started breaking up ice on the Red River from Selkirk to Lake Winnipeg, an area prone to ice jams.
Signs have been posted in areas where the machines will be working as a safety reminder to ice fishers and snowmobile enthusiasts. Ice fishing huts were also posted for removal in this area.
The ice cutting equipment will be used ahead of the ice breakers and will make cuts along and across the river to weaken the ice. The Amphibexes will then break a channel in the middle of the river to allow the ice to move.
The new Amphibex cost $1.2 million. In addition, specialized router-type ice cutting equipment will be used this year along with the two Amphibex ice breakers. The addition of ice cutting capabilities has greatly increased the capacity to tackle ice jams and prevent damage.
The North Red Community Water Maintenance Corporation, which represents the rural municipalities of St. Andrews and St. Clements and the City of Selkirk, owns and operates the original ice breaking machine.
Last year, Manitoba’s original icebreaker, jointly funded by the province and the North Red Community Water Maintenance Corporation, was improved with upgrades to boost its ability to break up thick ice.
Use of the Amphibex equipment has prevented more than $3 million in damages in the last two years in Manitoba.