The Riverhurst ice crossing is open for the season earlier than usual thanks to extreme cold temperatures and a lack of snowfall.

A typical season for the road is from the beginning of February to the end of March, with this year's opening up last Wednesday.  

While the forecast is set to be in the positives this weekend, Director of Communcations for the Ministry of Highways, David Horth, said it won’t affect the crossing.  

“A day or two of plus temperatures shouldn't matter; we've got a pretty good thickness of ice,” he said. “It's for light loads right now because we before we can let the heavier loads on, the ice needs to be a little thicker than what we have." 

The two kilometre stretch is tested often to make sure it’s safe, and the current suitable weight limit is 4500 kilograms or less. 

ice_crossing_1.png Screenshot of the Riverhurst ice crossing on the Highway Hotline - taken January 31 at approximately 9 a.m. 

Horth added that ice crossings help make remote communities more accessible and cut down travel time.  

When it comes to safety, he recommended that folks treat it like any roadway—drive according to conditions, pay attention to where you’re going, and of course check the highway hotline before heading out.  

“It's always best to check that hotline because we do tell you whether the ice crossings or ice roads are open and what sort of restrictions might be on them,” he said. "We certainly want people to use them, but we want them to follow the rules and make sure that they're being safe when they do.”