Some communities still cut off after storms; Highway 71 re-opened

Several northwestern Ontario communities remain cut off as roads are flooded or washed out following Tuesday’s storms.
Near Morson water is running through Highway 621, what used to be the only access road to the community, and the four-foot culvert there has washed away.
“We’re cut off because of the big river, the culvert has disappeared,” said Yvonne Gill, owner of the Morson Shopping Centre.
Gill sent a houseboat north to the community of Nestor Falls to pick up a supply of the necessities for the community which was ravaged by the heavy rains and winds.
Most residents are pitching in to help neighbours repair the damage.
“Everybody’s out helping each other, anyone with a chain saw is cutting up trees, they helped unload supplies from the houseboat, their helping to do repairs,” said Gill
Private barges are being used to ship tourists and residents in and out of Morson.
“There’s two barges that are running with vehicles to Baudette but from the reports I’m hearing reservations are maxed out with bookings until Tuesday,” said Gill.
Last night hydro was restored in the community as Hydro One flew in crews to make repairs.
“They airlifted hydro crews in by helicopter from across the country and local people helped drive them around in half-tons, otherwise it’d be shoe-leather express,” said Gill.
Residents there are expecting to remain cut-off for three to five days until the rushing water subsides and repairs are made.
In Northwest Bay about 200 residents are hoping road repairs today will enable them to get in and out of the community.
Water has gone down along the washed out Highway 613 leading to the community but a truck that came to make repairs ended up getting stuck in the washout.
Power in Northwest Bay was out for 54 hours before being repaired at 9:30 p.m. last night.
“Everyone boiled their meet before it could spoil and gave it to everyone else in the community so we have enough food,” noted resident Darlene Smith.
“A few people went by boat to get milk for babies and groceries,” she added.
Highway 71 between Highway 11 and Nestor Falls has been re-opened to two lanes as of 7:55 a.m. this morning, OPP reported today.
The Ministry of Transportation closed the road Tuesday due to washouts caused by the heavy rains.
OPP didn’t expect the road to be fully re-opened until at least tomorrow as water levels in the area remained high yesterday and the shoulders of the highway were very soft, resulting in dangerous driving conditions.
But work there has resulted in a much clearer path now.
An update on the state of other highways in the Northwest region is as follows:
•Off Lake Road is closed due to a recent washout;
•Highway 600 is open from the junction of Highway 71 to North Branch junction of Highway 617, and closed west of Highway 621
•Highway 621 is open from Highway 11 to Bergland
•Highway 615 is closed at Off Lake Bridge north
•Highway 617 is closed at Brown’s Road, 1-8 miles north of Highway 11
•Highway 619 is closed from Pinewood to Goliquor Road and open from Goliquor Road to Highway 600; and
•Flanders Road is open but caution is advised as it is still in rough condition.