Local man calling for permanent fix to armour stone barrier
FOX ISLAND RIVER Yve LeRoy said the only thing that saved the road in Fox Island River on Wednesday is that the winds were offshore.
Waves crashing along an armour stone wall, the only barrier between Port au Port Bay and the road in the community, has once again eroded a section of the road and recently laid pavement is lifting up from erosion underneath.
LeRoy has been vocal for several years now about his fears that waves from high onshore winds will destroy the road in Fox Island River and he’s been asking the provincial government to do a better job on the armour stone barrier, which stretches for more than a kilometre along the beach.
Erosion from the waves in Port au Port Bay has washed away a lot of land during the past four to five decades and the Department of Transportation and Works put the armour stone barrier in place to try to protect the road.
But LeRoy said the barrier is not working because the armour stone was dropped on the sand and gravel along the shore, and is undermined when there is a lot of wave action.
He said when Marine Contractors constructed the breakwater in the community, they dug a trench that was a metre and a half to two metres deep, which is holding up fine.
LeRoy said residents of Fox Island River want a trench dug along the shoreline, parallel to the road, so the armour stone is below the existing grade. He wants the area filled in with more heavy armour stone to prevent erosion.
The wind Wednesday was and northwesterly and, had it been southeast or onshore, LeRoy said the community would have had real problems.
“Every year it’s the same thing, as we have one or two of these storms a year and our fear is that people living down in this end of the community will be cut off if the road washes out,” he said.
LeRoy said there is no shoulder left in some sections on the seaward side of the road, so it becomes a safety issue in addition to a transportation issue.
He estimated a cost of $10,000 to $15,000 a year for the Department of Transportation and Works to be doing these repairs and, while it would be costly to do the job, if it were done right those costs would be eliminated and people in the community would feel a lot safer.
He said because of the way it was done, the rocks on the current barrier get undermined and roll out and now some are 15 to 20 feet out from the bank.
The Department of Transportation and Works sent a plow to Fox Island River on Wednesday afternoon to keep the road clear of the rocks and other debris pushed onto the road from the crashing waves.
Meanwhile, Fire and Emergency Services — Newfoundland and Labrador was encouraging residents of the province to be cautious around coastlines and waterways during the coming days due to an anticipated storm surge.
According to Environment Canada, a weather system approaching the province would probably cause higher than normal water levels during high tide Wednesday evening.
Environment Canada also reminded residents to be on the lookout for large waves and pounding surf along portions of the south coast, particularly during high tide Wednesday evening.
These waves, combined with the high tides, were expected to result in elevated water levels and possibly cause minor coastal flooding, beach erosion, and infrastructure damage.