River levels in Winnipeg have receded to the point where a portion of the Assiniboine Riverwalk will open in time for the May long weekend.

Crews at The Forks are working to remove silt from the riverwalk with the intention of opening the stretch between Main Street and the mouth of the Red River on Saturday, communications manager Chelsea Thomson said.

At the same time, City of Winnipeg workers intend to clear the riverwalk west of Main Street in time for the long weekend. The walkway along the Red River won't be open for three more weeks due to renovations underway at The Forks National Historic Site, which is maintained by Parks Canada.

"As many weeks as we can get out of the riverwalk is always our goal," Thomson said.

Assiniboine river walk

River levels dropped below the surface of the riverwalk on Tuesday and are still dropping several centimetres a day. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The riverwalk sits at 8.5 feet above normal winter ice level at James Avenue. The Red River and lower Assiniboine receded below that level late on Tuesday and stood at 7.7 feet James on Thursday afternoon. 

The riverwalk has been under water this spring since Feb. 28. Last year, when there was no significant spring flood, the walkway was dry in April, but wound up submerged for two weeks at the end of June due to heavy rain.

A report published by the province last spring stated it would be impractical to use the Red River Floodway to control river levels throughout the summer and fall due to the negative upstream effects of operating the control structure.