The aboiteau on the LaPlanche River near Amherst will be replaced by fall. The province called the tender on Wednesda to replace the wooden aboiteau that has been there since the 1950s with a new modern structure.
AMHERST – The province is moving forward with plans to replace the aboiteau on the LaPlanche River near Amherst.
Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell announced the calling of the tender on Wednesday for the replacement of the existing wooden aboiteau with a new modern structure.
The tender, which closes at the end of July, is open to all qualified general contracting companies. It will be awarded in early August. Construction is expected to begin in early August and be completed in the fall.
"We're pleased that we've reached this stage," said Farrell, who made the announcement for Agriculture Minster Keith Colwell. "The replacement of the LaPlanche Aboiteau will ensure our marshlands, agricultural land and local infrastructure are protected. It is one of the largest flood mitigation projects by the Department of Agriculture in recent years."
The LaPlanche Aboiteau prevents flooding from the Bay of Fundy and local rivers and also protects roads and railway lines in the Amherst area.
The new aboiteau will replace two structures and will support over 1,000 hectares of agricultural land, and residential, municipal and commercial infrastructure. It will be twice the size of the existing structures.
This is the second time the province has attempted to replace the existing aboiteau. In 2007, engineers diverted the river and put a new structure in place only to see it fail a few months after it was built. The wreckage from that project still sits in the river.
Doug Bacon, who chairs the East Amherst Marshlands Body, is optimistic the project will be done right this time.
“You have to be optimistic. I was optimistic the first time but the government of the day didn’t put the proper funding in place to do the job properly,” Bacon said. “I’m quite optimistic they’ll get it right this time.”
Bacon is hoping the aboiteau here will be the start of a program to replace aboiteaus and dykes across the province. He said the province has to be proactive now before a major storm or other tidal event damages or destroys other aboiteau systems and dykelands.
He said the aboiteau on the LaPlance River is so important because of the critical infrastructure that lies behind it including the wind farm, Amherst’s sewage treatment facility, the railway and Trans-Canada Highway as well as valuable agricultural land and homes and business along the edge of the marsh in Amherst.
CBCL Ltd., an Atlantic Canadian engineering consultant, completed earlier stages of the project, including design and geotechnical investigation, consultation and site selection. CBCL Ltd. also completed the final design and prepared tender documents.
CBCL Ltd. will present an overview of the new aboiteau at an information session on Wednesday, July 23 at 1 p.m. at the Wandlyn Inn.
The construction phase will involve creating coffer dams, pile driving, concrete construction, earth works and armour rock protection. It will protect about $40 million worth of provincial and municipal infrastructure.
The aboiteau is operated by the Department of Agriculture, under the Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act. The department helps protect agricultural marshlands by monitoring 241 kilometres of dykes and 260 aboiteaux that protect over 43,000 acres of marshlands in the province.
For more information, visit http://novascotia.ca/agri/programs-and-services/industry-protection/#marshlands .