Assessing flood damage
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.”