It has now been six weeks since fire destroyed a bridge along Provincial Road 311, northeast of New Bothwell. And our province has provided a brief statement on where things are at with replacing that structure.

The bridge burned on Wednesday, May 10th, on what ended up being a very busy afternoon and evening for Hanover firefighters. Fire Chief Paul Wiebe says they received their first call at 5:09 pm and responded to a couple of hydro poles and a small shed that caught fire north of PR 311. Wiebe explains there was some crop residue burning on some fields in that area and the fire spread to the hydro poles and shed. 

Crews extinguished the blaze and returned back to the fire hall. However, moments later, firefighters were dispatched to the same area after Manitoba Hydro crews noticed fire in that same field was approaching a bridge along Road 26E, just north of PR 311.

By the time firefighters arrived, the bridge was already burning. And, while on scene, they noticed a second bridge, this one on PR 311, had also caught fire. 

Both bridges ended up being a total loss. 

Days later, a provincial spokesperson indicated that both fires were accidental in nature. At the time, the spokesperson said that Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI) would lead work to determine the full extent to which both bridges were damaged and would evaluate replacement alternatives. 

Ever since the bridge fire along PR 311, motorists have been unable to use that stretch of roadway and the province has put up electronic reader boards and other signage to notify drivers of detours.

Bridge destroyed by fire in May north of New Bothwell.

PR 311 is a provincial road and therefore whatever decisions are made concerning the replacement of that bridge, are left in the hands of the province. We reached out to the province this week, requesting an update. A provincial spokesperson provided the following statement:

Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure is still in the process of completing the necessary assessment. The assessment includes developing and evaluating the repair and replacement alternatives, selecting the preferred alternative, obtaining necessary approvals and discussing with stakeholders. More information will be released in the near future once the assessment has been completed.

When asked for a more definitive timeline on when more information will be released, it was indicated that a more specific timeline can not be given just yet, given all the considerations needed to be addressed.