Patience for floods runs out

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The culvert in question

AMHERST – It’s a “major catastrophe” waiting to happen, according to Chuck Hurley.

The homeowner’s frustrated with the pace of government action to repair a partially blocked culvert in Brookdale, beside his property.

Hurley said a number of officials have visited the site in the wake of a Sept. 25 story in the Amherst Daily News. The resident said the culvert’s been flooding for years, and a repair two years ago didn’t help. In addition to the damage local residents experience – his septic bed has been submerged – he fears a far worse scenario: a motorist or school bus leaving the road and being swallowed by deep flood waters.

The embankment is steep on both sides of the road and there’s no guardrail.

Buffy White, the Department of Transportation’s area supervisor, wasn’t available for comment. Brian Skabar, MLA for Cumberland North was out-of-province. But Dave Reid, operations supervisor for DOT operations in Amherst, was able to speak on the issue.

“It’s not really a hold up – it all takes time,” said Reid.

In his estimation, the pace of work to address the situation has been reasonable (in September, Reid said there would be work on the site this fall). He said approval requests are with the Department of Environment and the Department of Fisheries. A tender may be put out by the end of December or early January.

“That’s what we’re hoping,” he said.

Winter conditions should not prevent the work being completed, according to Reid. When asked if the steps will be taken this winter to prevent flooding at the site next spring, the supervisor was guardedly positive.

“Looks like it is.”

Organizations: Department of Transportation, Amherst Daily News, Department of Environment Department of Fisheries

Geographic location: AMHERST, Brookdale, Cumberland North

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