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RCMP reverses decision to shut all major highways in Southern Manitoba, but say closures still possible

Click to play video: 'Winnipeggers talk about the first few hours of the blizzard' Winnipeggers talk about the first few hours of the blizzard
People in downtown Winnipeg give their opinions on the first few hours of the blizzard Wednesday – Apr 13, 2022

RCMP say they’ve reversed a decision to close all major highways in Southern Manitoba as a major storm moves into the province Wednesday.

But they say closures are still possible throughout the day if highway conditions continue to deteriorate.

Read more: Major storm underway in Manitoba, expected to stick around until Friday

“The Manitoba RCMP continually assessed highway conditions overnight and continues to monitor this morning. Anticipated widespread highway closures across southern Manitoba were not required,” police said in a release sent around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

In a release Tuesday night RCMP had warned all major highways in Southern Manitoba would close at midnight or when it began to snow.

Click to play video: 'The city of Winnipeg responds to major snow storm' The city of Winnipeg responds to major snow storm
The city of Winnipeg responds to major snow storm – Apr 13, 2022

As of 8 a.m. Highway 75 from Morris to the border and Highway 1 from Elie to Austin are officially closed, police said.

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For an updated list of road conditions and closures, visit manitoba511.ca.

Read more: Manitoba braces as ‘historic’ winter storm to start Tuesday night

Police urge caution if travel is necessary and reminds drivers to stay off closed highways.

RCMP also note that if you do decide to travel, first responders may not be able to get to you if you’re stranded or need assistance.

“We’re trying to avoid at 1 a.m. getting calls of stranded motorists,” RCMP Cpl Julie Courchaine said.

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“We know those highways get really bad in the winter and they are going to be closed and the reason they are closed is because it’s not safe.”

Trying to get first responders out there to anyone who needs assistance is going to be troublesome.”

Read more: School and other cancellations around southern Manitoba on Wednesday

During a storm earlier this winter, dozens of drivers were stranded on the Perimeter Highway and Courchaine doesn’t want a repeat.

“The safety of everyone is compromised at that point,” she said.

A CAA spokesperson tells Global News they are not allowed to drive on closed roads to rescue stranded vehicles or people.

–With files from Shane Gibson

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