Flood­ing once again closes Route 935

West Sackville res­i­dents frus­trated with long de­tours, lack of ur­gency

Sackville Tribune - - TANTRAMAR - BY KATIE TOWER SACKVILLE TRI­BUNE- POST

Frus­tra­tion con­tin­ues to mount for res­i­dents in West Sackville as they deal with a road clo­sure once again that cuts them off from ser­vices and leaves many fac­ing long de­tours to work and school ev­ery day.

This week­end’s storm that brought high winds and heavy rains flooded the tem­po­rary ac­cess road that was built this sum­mer to move traf­fic around a con­struc­tion project that, iron­i­cally, is ex­pected to al­le­vi­ate flood­ing prob­lems at the in­ter­sec­tion of Route 935, in the Carters Brook area of West Sackville.

“The cur­rent con­di­tions in West­cock, British Set­tle­ment, Woodpoint and be­yond are pretty bad and (Satur­day) night it was just plain dan­ger­ous,” said West­cock res­i­dent Ann Mit­ton. “These com­mu­ni­ties were com­pletely cut off.”

At the height of the storm Satur­day night and into Sun­day morn­ing, all routes in and out of West Sackville were ei­ther flooded or blocked by downed trees. And while all but Route 935 has since been re- opened, Mit­ton said many res­i­dents were left ner­vous of what would hap­pen in case of an emer­gency.

“There are peo­ple here who need to be heard and some­one has to care that folks didn’t sleep (Satur­day) night, not be­cause of the wind or rain but be­cause they were afraid,” she said. “This is not just an in­con­ve­nience; this is not peo­ple ex­pect­ing more than they de­serve or re­quire. This mess is un­ac­cept­able.”

She shud­ders to think what would have hap­pened if there was a med­i­cal emer­gency Satur­day night when the com­mu­nity was cut off; or a flue fire that could have got­ten out of con­trol with the high winds.

“Satur­day evening was scary for many peo­ple liv­ing here,” said Mit­ton.

Sackville Fire Chief Craig Bowser said as is usu­ally done when flood­ing is ex­pected, his depart­ment takes a proac­tive ap­proach and places a fire truck with equip­ment on the other side of the in­ter­sec­tion in case of an emer­gency.

He said this in­cludes med­i­cal sup­plies and an AED de­fib­ril­la­tor. There are about 10 lo­cal fire­fight­ers who live in West Sackville so they are able to re­spond if needed. Bowser also noted that the Dorch­ester Fire Depart­ment can ac­cess the area via the back way.

Flood­ing prob­lems have plagued the area for decades and the New Brunswick Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture had be­gun a con­struc­tion project in July to fix the is­sues. DTI hired a con­struc­tion com­pany to do the work, which in­volves in­stalling three large con­crete aboiteaux and rais­ing the road slightly. It was the tem­po­rary ac­cess road that was built around the project that be­came sub­merged on Satur­day as a re­sult of the heavy rains and the in­com­ing tide.

Jeremy Trevors, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokesper­son for DTI, said work be­gan on Mon­day to re­build the de­tour to a higher el­e­va­tion and it will open to the trav­el­ling pub­lic as soon as pos­si­ble.

The town of Sackville posted on its Face­book page Mon­day af­ter­noon that the con­trac­tor is hop­ing to have the 935 ac­cess open by Thurs­day, weather pend­ing.

“They will be rais­ing the tem­po­rary ac­cess by an ad­di­tional me­ter and need to re­in­force it be­fore it will be safe for traf­fic. We would like to thank the area res­i­dents for their pa­tience,” the post stated.

But Mit­ton said it’s hard to be pa­tient when lives are be­ing put at risk and when res­i­dents aren’t be­ing in­formed of what’s hap­pen­ing.

“Where is a real con­tin­gency plan?” she asked. “Where do we go in the event of ris­ing wa­ter? How do we let peo­ple know what to do? What if the in­ter­net is down for some rea­son?”

She said merely post­ing a no­tice on Face­book does noth­ing for res­i­dents like her el­derly fa­ther; he does not even own a com­puter or a smart phone and he is not alone ei­ther.

“There has been noth­ing done by way of worst-case sce­nario or, if it has, it has not been shared with the com­mu­nity.”

ROD­NEY TOWER PHOTO

The tem­po­rary ac­cess road at Route 935 flooded on Satur­day dur­ing a storm that brought high winds and heavy rains to the re­gion. The road con­tin­ues to re­main closed as crews work to re­build the de­tour to a higher el­e­va­tion. It could pos­si­bly re-open by Thurs­day or Fri­day.

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