New Brunswick

Highway washout near Bath will take one month 'minimum' to fix

Work to repair a section of Highway 105 that was washed out by post-tropical storm Arthur could begin next week, but will likely take at least one month to complete, raising safety concerns in the Village of Bath.

Post-tropical storm Arthur created a washout on Highway 105 between Bath and Florenceville-Bristol

A large section of Highway 105 between Bath and Florenceville-Bristol was washed out when post-tropical storm Arthur hit New Brunswick more than a week ago. Derek Anderson took this picture on July 7. (Derek Anderson/Twitter)

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams says he hopes work to repair a washed-out section of Highway 105 near Bath, N.B., can begin next week.

But he expects the work to take "a minimum" of one month to complete, if crews don't run into any problems and the weather co-operates.

He estimates it will cost about $300,000 to fix.

Williams was responding to concerns raised by village officials in the western New Brunswick community after post-tropical storm Arthur washed out part of the highway between Bath and Florenceville-Bristol on July 5.

The washout means anyone driving in the area must take a 12-kilometre detour along roads that are not normally used for heavy truck and commuter traffic.

Deputy Mayor Charles McNair said a massive chunk of concrete from the road was swept into the Shiktewak stream, making it unsafe for any traffic to drive near it.

"This is a shocker to everyone locally here. This is really a dramatic washout," he said.

“It consumes the entire width of the road and it would be 15-feet deep, at least."

Bath’s deputy mayor said he wants the provincial government to make repairs to the highway a priority.

Detour long and 'dangerous'

“This is a major inconvenience and hazard frankly because of the heavy traffic going on the back roads,” McNair said.

"It's dangerous and there's too much traffic on it. Emergency vehicles must go around, so you know, there's a 12-kilometre distance there, that, the shorter time that we have to put up with that the better and safer we will all be.”

The detour takes drivers from Hospital and Barker roads, around to Lockhart Mill Street before reconnecting with the highway.

There are no shoulders, but there are sharp turns and a fluctuating speed limit.

"It's a concern to all of us," said Anne-Marie Feeney, who owns a diner just off the detour route.

"There is a lot of traffic going along that road. It's twisty and windy, cars go by fast, they have no place to pull off," she said.

And the traffic is just going to get worse with the potato harvest, said Feeney.

"Tractors will be moving up and down this road and then they'll be forced along the detour and that is going to be almost unbearable."

The transportation minister says crews are still busy assessing the extent of the damage and work required before repairs can begin.

That work will include rerouting the steam and testing the safety of the bridge, Williams said.

Water levels in the area were initially too high for a complete assessment to be completed, he said.

"For people to make a detour, they change the routine it is certainly a problem," said Williams said.

"But we have to deal with making sure the fix is secure and the work that is done will hopefully be for the long term and it will be sustainable."

The project got the required environmental approval following a meeting on Monday, said Williams. The department has also gotten permission from a local landowner to work on the site, he said.

An official with Transportation and Infrastructure said a meeting is set for Wednesday to discuss plans to fix the washout.