Government is responding: minister
CORNER BROOK — The Department of Transportation and Works are closely monitoring areas of concern with respect to flooding throughout western Newfoundland.
With another rain warning issued for the region Tuesday, Minister Nick McGrath said the areas which flooded or were damaged this past weekend are of particular worry.
Highway infrastructure along the south shore of the Bay of Islands eroded with the rainfall and washouts this past weekend. In McIvers on the north shore, a blockage under a bridge caused water and ice from a river to wash over the road and parking lot of the community hall and local fire station. Traffic was held up there for more than an hour as equipment cleared the blockage.
There was also flooding and erosion issues along the Port au Port Peninsula. The highway in the Noel’s Pond area was closed again as water built up from the pond. Department crews repaired a shoulder that eroded and flooded the road. Traffic was re-routed through Stephenville Crossing, which has become commonplace in recent years during heavy rainfall in this area.
McGrath said the Lewin Parkway in Corner Brook is another area which experienced damage this past weekend.
“We are monitoring it very closely,” he said Tuesday morning. “We realize the damage is there. This time of year, the materials needed to do the repairs on the shoulders and stuff are frozen. We have to dig into that now and, as soon as the weather permits, we will have crews out there.”
Caution signs have been put in place in the meantime.
The minister says climate change continues to pose significant challenges on infrastructure throughout the province. He said his staff is working with the Department of Environment and federal government officials to monitor, and ultimately deal with, that.
As infrastructure is replaced or repaired, McGrath said, it is done to adapt to the changes in weather and damage that have been occurring.
“We have experts in the departments who know what is happening,” he said. “Through the climate changes, they realize infrastructure also has to change.
“I feel we have things in control. We have a great staff, in the government employees, and they are keeping ahead of things.”