Highway crews assessing, repairing damage following Sunday's torrential rains

·3 min read

Department of Transportation and Infrastructure highway crews are out in Woodstock and surrounding areas assessing road damage following a Sunday storm that delivered more than 53 mm of rain throughout the day.

Environment Canada spokesperson Ian Hubbard said the weather station at Woodstock Airport in Newbridge recorded 81.2 mm rain over Saturday and Sunday, with 53.3 mm falling through the day Sunday. He said almost 37 mm of that fell over three hours from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

“That’s a high rate over a short period,” he said.

He described that as a “significant” downpour, noting the ground cannot absorb that much water in such a short time.

“That’s typically when we begin to hear about washouts and other damage,” Hubbard said.

He said north, and northwest New Brunswick took the brunt of the heavy rainfall.

“Woodstock was one of the hardest-hit areas,” he said.

Hubbard said the heaviest rains fell in limited regions, noting the weather station just across the Canada-U.S. border in Houlton, Maine, recorded just 32 mm on Sunday.

Route 585 in Grafton, just a couple of kilometres west of the Woodstock airport, showed the effects of the heavy rain.

Brooks running along both sides of the road, overflowed, washing away the shoulder and parts of the asphalt.

As DTI crews surveyed the situation in preparation for repairs, a contracting team from Aggcon Construction was already on the job repairing a culvert on a driveway leading to a special care home in Grafton.

A member of the Aggcon crew said the company responded quickly to ensure ambulances and other vehicles could access the home in case of emergencies.

While Route 585 remained open to traffic Monday, orange pylons lined the damaged areas as motorists moved slowly along the narrowed roadway.

DTI crews also worked on Route 103 in Wakefield, just south of Bennett’s Lake Road. A crew member said long-term damage proved minimal in the area, noting crews primarily removed gravel and debris left behind by the receding waters.

Water flowing over parts of the road at the height of the storm Sunday afternoon closed Route 103 highway to traffic for part of the day.

John Teague, who lives along Route 103, saw his driveway become a river during the height of Sunday’s downpour. While there is minor long-term damage to the highway, driveways on either side of the road took a hit, but most are passable, Teague said.

Residents in Pembroke, just north of Grafton, reported flooding waters over Route 105. Others reported flooding over the Greenfield Road, between Florenceville-Bristol and Centreville in northern Carleton County.

Mark Taylor, communications manager for DTI, said water over the road forced the closure of some routes on Sunday, but all opened after the water cleared.

He said most of the damage, like that in Grafton, occurred along the side of the roadway, allowing traffic to continue to flow.

Taylor said DTI crews are currently assessing damage, and repairs, where necessary, will begin as soon as possible. He said crews visited spots along Routes 103, 105 and 585.

Before the weekend rains hit, Taylor said, DTI crews were already working on replacing and repairing some culverts.

“The rain didn’t help,” he said.

Taylor said homeowners who experienced damage to driveways could contact DTI to discuss potential repairs.

While all roads remain open, Taylor reminded motorists to drive cautiously through damaged areas and where crews are on the job.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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