Canadian Consulting Engineer

Consulting engineering staff in New Brunswick affected by flooding

Flooding along the Saint John River in New Brunswick in May caused 80 roads to be closed and hundreds of people to ...

May 6, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Flooding along the Saint John River in New Brunswick in May caused 80 roads to be closed and hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes. Colleen Mitchell, of the consulting engineering firm ADI Group, said that their head office in Fredericton is on one of the highest points in the city, so it escaped the flooding. However, some employees who lived to the north had to take long detours because they were unable to use the bridges over the river. Several employees had been evacuated from their homes.By Monday, May 5, water levels in Fredericton seemed to have stabilized at 7 metres, which was still half a metre above the flood stage. The historic downtown had been flooded, and the provincial Legislative building and the Justice building remained closed, as well as the Federal Building. Saint John was also badly affected.New Brunswick Power had to close two of its hydroelectric plants due to the high water levels. After the powerhouse at the Grand Falls Hydro Generating Station flooded on Thursday, May 1, the plant had to be closed down. At the Beechwood Hydro Generating station, the difference between the water levels above and below the dam was too small to produce energy, so it was temporarily shut down. NB Power was meeting the province’s power needs by relying on the Coleson Cove Generating Station and by importing electricity from Quebec and New England.
The utility was also working hard to try to restore power to homes that had been disconnected due to flooding.
The Trans-Canada Highway to Moncton remained open, thanks to a rerouting and construction of a new 195-kilometre highway a decade ago (MMM and McCormick Rankin were project managers).
The 673-kilometre St. John River flows from headwaters in Maine to the port of Saint John, New Brunswick, and has a drainage area of 55,000 square kilometres. The river rose after 100 millimetres of rain fell in late April. Water levels in historic Fredericton hit a high of 8.33 metres, but still below the record set in 1973 of 8.63 metres.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the flooded area of Maugerville on Friday, May 2 and was expected to announce a disaster relief package this week. The situation was declared a state of emergency. Rescue boats and the military were sent in to check on property and to help evacuate a stranded herd of cattle.


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