The 22-tonne Amphibex machines are breaking through the ice on areas of the Red River with a history of ice jamming. The icebreakers can also be transported by heavy truck to other areas of the province if ice-jam issues develop on other rivers, Premier Greg Selinger said.
“We’ve seen the damage ice-jam-related flooding can have for communities; it’s unpredictable and can develop rapidly,” he said. “Working around the clock, our icebreaking fleet and the 28 dedicated people who operate the equipment are recognized across the continent for the incredible success they have protecting families and businesses.”
Since last month, ice-cutting machines have been creating a grid pattern so the Amphibex equipment can break the ice and enable its movement to reduce the potential for ice jamming. Two‑person crews pilot the vessels with safety and support crews on hand. Global positioning systems have been installed on the icebreakers and cutters to track exactly where raking and cuts have been made.
Ground-penetrating radar is used before cutting begins to determine ice thickness and to guide the ice-cutting and breaking operations.
The provincial ice-mitigation fleet consists of four Amphibex AE 400 icebreaking machines, seven ice‑cutting machines, and seven amphibious transport and support vehicles. The Amphibex icebreakers are operated and maintained by North Red Community Water Maintenance Inc., formed with provincial assistance by the rural municipalities of St. Andrews and St. Clements, and the City of Selkirk.
Press Release, March 3, 2014