Plans underway to prevent flooding on rural Sudbury highway
Quiet rural highway runs between highways 69 and 17 and through communities of Wanup and Wahnapitae
The Ontario government has committed to fixing a provincial highway in Greater Sudbury that is frequently closed for flooding. But it will be at least a few years until Highway 537 in Wanup will be high and dry.
The Ministry of Transportation has committed to fixing the flood-prone rural highway in the southern reaches of Greater Sudbury.
Regional issues and media advisor Gordan Rennie says planning work will begin this year, with an aim to starting construction in 2018.
"It's not an easy fix, it involves environmental assessment and engineering and for a secondary highway? Yeah, it would be a more expensive undertaking," said Rennie.
It will likely mean raising up the roadway, since Jumbo Creek runs along side 537 instead of running under it through a culvert or bridge, which will also increase the price.
The flooding has been a perennial problem, which Deb McIntosh decided to address when she was elected as city councillor for the area in 2014.
She wrote to the transportation minister and got a letter right back, committing to addressing the problem.
"I was surprised I got the response I did. I thought I'd have to push harder," McIntosh said.
For Heidi Maki and her neighbours in Wanup, the wash-outs of Highway 537 at Jumbo Creek are more than just annoying.
"Ridiculously inconvenient, it's been ongoing, twice a year, like clock work," said Maki, who has lived in the area since 1998.
Maki says it makes it tough to get around the rural community and she often just drives through the water rather than taking the long dirt road detour.
She said neighbours will even text each other if they see police officers stationed at the wash out.
"The cops are sitting there, take the detour road," Maki said.
"Something needs to get done. Sadly we're Canadian, we're too polite to fight about it. It is what it is."
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