Some people who rely on a western Manitoba highway say they fear it could be a long time before provincial crews fix a massive sinkhole that has closed a section of the road.
A landslide last month caused part of Highway 83 to collapse between Russell and Roblin, Man., creating a sinkhole roughly 200 metres wide.
The section of road has since been closed to the public, and a detour is in place for motorists.
Bill Gade, who owns the 83 North trucking company in Swan River, Man., says provincial highways officials have told him the road likely won’t be fixed for another year or two.
“If this was the Number One highway, we’d have crews out there on it now. It isn’t, and the reality is the province just doesn’t care,” he told CBC News.
“If they get it done in a year or two — I would think around about the time of the election — we’ll see some movement.”
Gade said the province appears to be looking instead at upgrading the detour, which he described as being in terrible condition and adding up to $250 in costs to some of his trucking routes.
Optimism among people living in the area that the highway would be repaired soon has vanished, he added.
“The province hired security to keep people from looking at the hole,” he said.
“When that happened, I think that’s when people started to realize [that] the priority here wasn’t fixing. The priority was damage control.”
A provincial government spokesman told CBC News that crews are working as quickly as possible to stabilize the area.
There has been no ground movement around the sinkhole in the past two weeks, and crews are re-establishing surface drainage in an effort to prevent more landslides, the spokesman said.
Crews are also trying to better assess the stability in the area around the road.