Crews Dealing With Large Washouts On Highway 905

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 14:40



Highways officials now say it will be tomorrow night at the earliest before the only road link to the Far North is open for traffic again.


Highway 905 has been completely impassable since Sunday because of several severe washouts created by heavy rainfall.


A department spokesperson says it could easily be Saturday or Sunday before the road is open.


Robin Briere says the water will have to recede substantially if they want to get traffic moving again by tomorrow night, noting that some flooded areas are 16 metres wide and 3.5 metres deep.


Briere says when the highway is re-opened, there will likely only be partial service and some sections where only one vehicle can pass at a time.


The road connects communities like Southend and Brabant Lake to places like Wollaston Lake.


It also serves as the only supply route for the McClean Lake and Cigar Lake uranium operations.


A Cogema official said earlier this week that if the road wasn’t re-opened by Friday, it would affect the production of yellowcake at McClean Lake because a chemical needed in the milling process would likely be in short supply.


Uranium mines are not the only operations being affected by the closure of Highway 905.


Several stores across the Athabasca region have been feeling the crunch from the closure and most are beginning to run out of supplies.


Fond du Lac Northern Store manager Lee Short says his stock has begun to diminish dramatically.


Short says if the road doesn’t open soon, he will have to fly in goods — which will result in higher prices.


Short says perishable goods are already scarce at his outlet.