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N.B. news: Fredericton raises roads for possible floods

The City of Fredericton is planning to raise more of its roads this construction season, hoping it will keep them open longer should another significant flood hit the area.

The city has experienced several difficult years of flooding, the latest in 2019. For the past of couple years, it’s picked sections of roads – the ones that are usually the first to be covered by water – and raised them by variable amounts.

This year, a second section of Riverside Drive will be raised, from Sumac Street to Corbett Avenue, while the area’s water and storm sewer system is updated. Doing both jobs at once ensures the road won’t need construction work again for some time.

“We’re trying to find a balance where we’re not raising the road to create a berm or a dam situation so we won’t prevent flooding from happening,” said Melissa Steeves, assistant manager for the city’s engineering, design and construction department. “But what we’re trying to do is leave the road open to create a safer route for the people that live there and for emergency vehicles.”

A flooded residence on Riverside Drive in Fredericton. (Courtesy: Wyatt Dutcher)Wyatt Dutcher lives along the portion of Riverside Drive to be raised this summer. He’s hopeful it will make a difference.

The Dutchers are already prepared for the next flood. They’ve lived through several and have raised their home.

“You watch all your numbers, you watch what it’s doing up river, the weather in Edmundston and in Maine, you watch how much snow is up there and how much is coming down, how much is coming through the dam,” he said. “And then you start planning from there.”

A flooded residence on Riverside Drive in Fredericton. (Courtesy: Wyatt Dutcher)Steeves recognizes these construction closures are a headache for commuters, but flood mitigation is a “major priority” for the city. Portions of roads in Lincoln have also been raised.

“The longer the road stays open, the safer it is for people in the area,” she said.

Construction work won’t begin until late June or early July, as the city is waiting for the province to complete its work on the Princess Margaret Bridge – which is slated to close for five weeks in May and June.

Riverside Drive directly connects to that bridge.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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