Michael Rutherford said the closure of the Selkirk Bridge Thursday adds 15 minutes to his weekly drive into the city, but that doesn’t bother him.
Rutherford commutes into Selkirk from Beausejour to play bridge at the Gordon Howard Centre, a local seniors’ club.
It’s the sense of community that keeps him coming back — bridge or no bridge, he said.
“We enjoy the social interaction we enjoy the game, we enjoy the challenge,” he said. “We come to see our friends. The bridge closing makes our trip a little longer, that’s all.”
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson told Global News Thursday closing the bridge, which connects East Selkirk to the city of Selkirk, is common in the spring.
“The water makes the decision for us. As soon as it comes over the road on the other side on East Selkirk that’s it, we close everything down,” he said.
Selkirk is flood-proof, said Johannson, but he’s still concerned about ice jams that tend to gather along the Red River near the bridge.
“The unknown is what’s going to affect us, how long that ice is going to jam up there, how much water is coming from the south, and when they’re going to open up the floodway, that’s a big one for us.”
Cold weather has lowered the risk of flooding in the province, said Minister of Infrastructure Ron Schuler, in a news conference Thursday.
But, the Province is still taking flood risks seriously, he said.
“I would say we are very prepared, however, it looks far better than we had initially anticipated.”
Big storms and unpredictable weather could impact the flood forecast though, he said.
Blizzard conditions hit parts of North and South Dakota Thursday, dropping several inches of snow on the Red River Valley Basin.
“That kind of effect could change everything, but so far, steady as she goes, it’s looking pretty good,” said Schuler.
Johannson said at this point, it’s a waiting game.
“We can’t really hurry up Mother Nature too much. Now we have to wait and see what happens, we’ll keep an eye on the weather and the rising water and hope everything goes smoothly.”
The bridge will remain closed until water levels subside, said Johannson.
WATCH MORE: Flood preparations underway on the Red River
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