PEI

Red water at Trans-Canada site irks opponents

People opposed to the Plan B Trans-Canada Highway realignment say Monday's snow and rain has made the water run red there.
The water at the Plan B Trans-Canada Highway site is red. (CBC)

People opposed to the Plan B Trans-Canada Highway realignment say Monday's snow and rain has made the water run red there.

The construction site between New Haven and Bonshaw is turning into a wet, muddy landscape of barren hills and deep valleys.

As workers placed a long concrete culvert over one of the streams Tuesday, Cindy Richards, who calls herself a public monitor, watched in despair as the water flowed red.

"The volume is too great for the vegetation to actually filter it," Richards said.

Steven Yeo, the province's chief engineer, said it's not a major problem. He said federal and provincial environment officials met Tuesday morning, along with transportation engineers, and agreed that the control measures are working.

"Our mitigation measures are in place and they're working," Yeo said. He added that there was some "tweaking" to do.

"We have a lot of mulch down there," he said. "But when we have frozen ground down there it is difficult to control everything."

Kris Ortenburger said there's environmental damage, and it's going to take more than tweaking to fix it.

"This is a really sensitive area," she said.

Yeo said the plan is to have the runoff water collected in ponds where the heavy particles of mud and sand settle, and the excess water can be pumped off before it enters the streams.