Manitoba

Only road in and out of Gillam, Man., closed since Friday

The only road leading out of a northern Manitoba town has been closed since Friday after being washed out in several places.

Highway 280 connecting Gillam, Man., to Thompson was closed on Friday due to damage

The only road leading in and out of Gillam, Man., is closed. (Shutterstock / callumrc)

The only road leading out of a northern Manitoba town has been closed since Friday after being washed out in several places.

Miranda Atkinson lives in Gillam, Man., about 740 kilometres north of Winnipeg. She says she's never seen the highway in such bad condition.

Highway 280, which connects Gillam to Thompson, Man., was closed down heading into the long weekend. Before that, Atkinson said it had been closed at least twice in the week leading up to it.

The closure interrupts deliveries to the town of necessities like groceries and medication and forces residents to find other ways to leave town if they need to.

"When the roads closed you can take a train or a plane, but considering a flight from Gillam to Winnipeg is $1,000 after taxes — kind of expensive," Atkinson said.

The other, less costly way is to catch a twice-weekly train to Thompson, about 200 kilometres away, and then take a bus.

"It's more time-consuming, but it's a hell of a lot easier on your wallet," Atkinson said.

Grocery deliveries missed

Atkinson said the closures earlier in the week forced the town's only grocery store to miss its bread and Pepsi delivery.

Her son has autism, and if he needed to go to an appointment urgently her family would be in a tight spot, she said.

Manitoba511.ca says the closure began Friday. (Manitoba511.ca)
"If we had to take him to his therapy, you know, like right away, we'd be stuck," she said. "We'd be having to scramble and pay out of pocket to make alternate arrangements."

Atkinson and her family were planning to head to Thompson over the holiday weekend but cancelled their plans when the road was closed. She's taking a positive approach to the inconvenience.

"For us, we joke about it. We don't really travel that much unless it's summer vacation for a week," she said. "If we do do medicals, well, OK, I guess we're flying instead of driving. It doesn't put us out any."

"We actually were making plans to leave this weekend because my husband had [Monday] off, so we were actually planning to go to Thompson and whatnot and go shopping and stuff. Yeah — maybe next weekend."

With files from Courtney Rutherford

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