Juvenile Settlement residents face 'much slower' emergency response until bridge replaced

Residents of Juvenile Settlement, who have been stranded since the weekend when heavy rain washed out the covered Bell Bridge to Hoyt, will be getting a new bridge, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Tuesday.

Could take 6 to 8 weeks to replace washed-out covered Bell Bridge to Hoyt, says transportation minister

Government engineers were inspecting the damaged covered bridge in Hoyt on Tuesday. (CBC)

Residents of Juvenile Settlement, who have been stranded since the weekend when heavy rain washed out the covered Bell Bridge to Hoyt, will be getting a new bridge, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Tuesday.

But Minister Bill Fraser said it will take about six to eight weeks to get the single-lane pre-fabricated truss installed, barring extreme weather.

"People need to understand that until a replacement bridge is in place, emergency response times will be much slower," Fraser said.

In the meantime, the province has hired a contractor with a four-by-four pick up truck to transport the estimated 11 affected residents to and from their homes using a logging road, said Fraser.

The logging road is being improved to ensure safer travel, he said.

Fraser said he expects the destruction of the damaged covered bridge to begin as early as Wednesday.

The Department of Education is looking into solutions for the two children stranded in the community who will miss school while the bridge is replaced, he said.

Road repair crews were out in full force in the Hoyt area on Tuesday. (CBC)

Rising waters and raging waves on Saturday ripped out and smashed boards along the 87-year-old bridge, allowing water to gush through the historic structure.

It's one of a handful of covered bridges in southern New Brunswick that have fallen on hard times over the past two years.

Department engineers deemed it unsalvageable.

Boyd O'Donnell, 88, was busy dealing with flooding aftermath at his home in Blissville on Tuesday. (CBC)

Meanwhile clean-up efforts continued across the region Tuesday following the weekend storm that destroyed roads, flooded basements, and knocked out power.

Boyd O'Donnell of Blissville was scraping ice from his garage after floodwaters came in, froze, and then receded.

The 88-year-old said he's only ever seen the water rise that high in January twice before. 

"It was just the right setup. Lots of frost in the ground. Lots of snow. Turned warm. Started raining. You're going to get it," he said.

With files from Shane Fowler