The provincial government is providing an update about ice roads in the north.

David Horth, director of communications for the Ministry of Highways told MBC Radio News the ministry is not able to give a firm date in regards to when the roads will be open. However, he explained recent weather forecasts are good ones for ice road construction.

“The weather forecast for the week is clear and cold, day time temperatures in the minus 30 range, night time lows around minus 35, which will really help with ice road construction,” he said.

When it comes to specific ice roads, Horth said the Athabasca road, which is made up of ice and overland sections is coming along. According to Horth more than half of the overland route of the road has been packed. He said crews are hoping to get to work on the ice sections right away.

“We believe we’ll have enough ice to start construction next week,” he said.

This week Horth said crews are planning to do some work on the road around Fond-du-Lac, which will involve flooding to deal with rough ice and some exposed rocks. Testing work is also set to be done on Beaver Lodge Lake near Uranium City to see if the ice there is thick enough to start working on.

When it comes to the ice road for Wollaston Lake, construction got underway on the community side last week, with work set to begin from the opposing side this week.

Horth was not able to say if the warmer then normal temperatures in December will result in a shorter ice road season.

“It’s probably too early to say at this point, but fair enough to say that warmer weather is not helpful when you’re trying to build ice roads,” he said.

Normally ice roads in the province open in the first week in February before closing near the end of March, however the length of time the roads are open can vary from year to year. Horth added the ministry’s strategy in working on the ice roads is geared towards getting them up to their max weight as soon as possible.

“Maximum weight is important, because if you’re delivering supplies to communities, you want to be able to have a heavier rating so you can send in trucks,” he said.

Horth said the ministry regularly provides updates on ice roads on their highway hotline website.

(Top Photo Courtesy of Saskatchewan Highway Hotline Facebook)