As­sess­ing flood dam­age

The Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - CÉLINA IP

The County of Ren­frew will be en­gag­ing in spring clean­ing ef­forts to deal with the af­ter­math of the flood­ing.

As with many ar­eas through­out East­ern On­tario, the County of Ren­frew has ex­pe­ri­enced se­vere flood­ing over the past few weeks due to the ex­treme rain­fall.

Ac­cord­ing to data compiled by the county’s op­er­a­tions di­vi­sion, in Petawawa alone, the amount of pre­cip­i­ta­tion jumped from 41.5 mil­lime­tres in March to a whop­ping 126 mil­lime­tres in April. The sig­nif­i­cant amount of rain­fall is also a stag­ger­ing in­crease from the 52 mil­lime­tres ex­pe­ri­enced in April 2016.

County Road 58 ((Round Lake Road), in the Town ship of Lau­ren­tian Val­ley, re­quired an emer­gency road clo­sure as a re­sult of flood wa­ters over the road at the In­dian River Bridges. The road was closed from Kelly Lake Road to Beech­nut Road from April 11 through to April 13, and again from April 17 to April 18.

The dam­age caused by the flood­ing in this area was fairly mi­nor as a re­sult of flood proof­ing mea­sures that were in place (gran­u­lar seal­ing) in the vicin­ity of the struc­tures. On­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing at this lo­ca­tion has been nec­es­sary as a re­sult of high wa­ter lev­els from con­tin­u­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion. On May 7, wa­ter reached the edge of the road sur­face, how­ever re­ceded prior to over-top­ping the en­tire road sur­face, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pre­sented to the county op­er­a­tions com­mit­tee ear­lier this week.

County Road 30 (Lake Dore Road) was also af­fected on May 1 and May 6 when the Cob­den Pa­trol re­sponded to a re­port of high wa­ter lev­els near the in­ter­sec­tion with High­way 41, in the Town­ship of North Algona Wil­ber­force. The wa­ter topped the road­way un­til the cul­vert grate was able to be cleared of de­bris.

The road­way re­mained open to traf­fic as the wa­ter over the road­way was rel­a­tively mi­nor. Ap­pro­pri­ate sig­nage and safety de­vices were in­stalled. There was no dam­age to the paved sur­face, and the mi­nor shoul­der ero­sion was re­paired.

Ac­cord­ing to Steve Bo land, the county’ s di­rec­tor of pub­lic works, while sur­face dam­age to county-owned in­fra­struc­ture has been rel­a­tively mi­nor, there could be more ex­ten­sive dam­age be­neath the sur­face.

Once the floor wa­ter re­cedes, the county will be con­duct­ing thor­ough in­spec­tions of any af­fected in­fra­struc­ture in or­der to de­ter­mine the na­ture and ex­tent of any dam­age and to iden­tity re­me­dial ac­tions that may be re­quired.

“Cer­tainly we want to look at what’s hap­pen­ing with that wa­ter that’s sit­ting on the road and in­side the road struc­ture to make sure that it’s not do­ing any­thing un­to­ward. The gravel base should drain out if we get the wa­ter lev­els down, so in the longer term hope­fully things will be good, but we’ll want to con­tinue to mon­i­tor it,” said Boland. “Though, our big­gest con­cern quite frankly is with the cul­verts and the bridges and what kind of dam­age may be un­der­ground that we haven’t seen yet. So we’ll be do­ing in­spec­tions to en­sure that those struc­tures are safe go­ing for­ward.”

Boland added that it’s thanks to the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts from var­i­ous mem­bers of the com­mu­nity–in­clud­ing stu­dents, fire­fight­ers and city work­ers – that the county was able to pre­vent the oc­cur­rence of more ex­ten­sive dam­age from the flood­ing.

“There were fire­fight­ers, stu­dents, friends, neigh­bours and a whole host of peo­ple in­volved in the flood pro­tec­tion ef­forts through­out Ren­frew County. Ev­ery­where there was flood­ing, there were peo­ple help­ing with sand­bag­ging ac­tiv­i­ties, with flood pro­tec­tion and by mov­ing peo­ples pos­ses­sions to higher ground where it wouldn’t be dam­aged,” said Boland. “There was a great ef­fort by the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to help oth­ers and hope­fully that will con­tinue now that the wa­ter lev­els are re­ced­ing and peo­ple are start­ing with the re­cov­ery and clean-up phase from the flood­ing.”

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