Stay home this week if you can, Gatineau mayor urges
Mayor hopes to ease strain on morning commute as floods continue
The mayor of Gatineau, Que., is asking residents to stay home this week if they can as rising flood waters have closed one Ottawa River bridge and caused other traffic issues across the city.
The Chaudière Bridge was closed Sunday morning because of the still-rising Ottawa River, which has already set all-time water level records at certain locations.
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said the crossing's closure, combined with flooded streets, will make it difficult to get around — and if people can work from home or at least carpool, it would alleviate potential traffic problems.
"If people can limit their movements on the roads it will help us a lot," he said at a press conference on Sunday. "It is a way to show solidarity."
The provincial government in Quebec will be closing offices on Monday in Gatineau to keep its workers off the roads. The federal government said on Twitter on Sunday afternoon that managers should allow people to work from home wherever possible.
The City of Ottawa is encouraging people to take transit, bike or work from home if possible.
Pedneaud-Jobin said even people shifting their start times later in the day would be helpful.
As of Sunday morning, 1,300 people from 618 households have registered with the City of Gatineau as flood victims, including 1,093 adults and 207 children.
Peak flood levels are expected to still be days away. Pedeaud-Jobin said he expects the city will be dealing with high waters for weeks.