Cherryvale residents feel stranded and ignored after flooding cuts off main road

Cherryvale-area residents say they feel forgotten after their main road was cut off when heavy rain caused widespread flooding and damage last weekend.

Some say bailey bridge floods often, and they want a permanent fix

Cherryvale lost its covered bridge in 2014. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC )

Cherryvale-area residents say they feel forgotten after their main road was cut off when heavy rain caused widespread flooding and damage last weekend. 

The Queens County community about 60 kilometres west of Moncton already lost its covered bridge because of flooding in 2014, leaving only a bailey bridge across the Canaan River.

Now the bailey bridge is closed because the water rose during last weekend's storm.

Access to the main road out is cut off.

This isn't the first time the bailey bridge has flooded, residents say, so they're asking the government for a permanent solution.

'It's heartbreaking'

Donna Black lives on Cherryvale Road in Canaan Forks, where she and her husband have a small beef farm.

The only access to the community now is the Salem Road, Black said, and it's not passable during flooding.

Donna Black, who lives on Cherryvale Road in Canaan Forks with her husband, worries about access to the community during an emergency. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC )

Her husband is a heart patient, and there are many seniors in the community, she said.

She's concerned about what would happen in an emergency.

"It's heartbreaking to know that our bridge is gone and no one's doing anything," she said.

"They're not going to send a helicopter if something happens."

Cherryvale area residents say they feel like they’ve been forgotten after their main road was cut off when heavy rain caused widespread flooding and damage. 0:58

When the covered bridge was lost four years ago, it was a terrifying experience, Black said.

"I'm not a person who gets anxious or worries too much, but when you're totally surrounded, no land whatsoever you can see, it's a little frightening," she said.

Lengthy detours

Ray Arsenault, another Cherryvale area resident, said the bailey bridge floods far too often.

"We've told [the province] a hundred times, the bailey bridge floods too much," he said. "You can never go through there. It floods two or three times a year."

The Salem Road is not in great condition, so it's not an ideal option either, he said.

Lee Aubin says that without the bridge, residents have to take a detour, using a road that's in poor condition. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC )

Lee Aubin, who has three children, said the closure of the bridge has been very inconvenient, especially for those with small children who have to get to school. 

"It's just a lot of extra detouring and time consumption," he said.

He said he's not holding out much hope for a resolution anytime soon.

"It's just like we're left stranded and they don't care about us," he said.

Inspection coming 

In an emailed statement, the Department of Transportation said the bridge was closed because of high water levels.

Department spokesperson Jeremy Trevors said the water has still not receded enough for engineers to perform a detailed inspection but it doesn't look the bridge suffered any major damage.

Motorists are being redirected to a detour on Salem Road, which has been upgraded as an alternate route, he said.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story described the bailey bridge serving Cherryvale as a temporary one installed after the community lost its covered bridge. In fact, the bailey bridge is considered permanent and was there when the covered bridge was lost.
    Jan 19, 2018 10:15 AM AT