Will washout at Route 114 in New Brunswick drive tourists away?
The New Brunswick Department of Transportation says one of the province’s most traveled tourism routes may not be repaired until after the tourism season begins in May.
Minister of Transportation Bill Fraser said there is not set timeline as to when the road will be fixed.
“Hopefully before or very early on in the tourism season,” Fraser said.
Crews are rushing to try and repair Route 114 near Stoney Creek, N.B. after a portion of the road washed away earlier this month. Fraser said attempts to repair the site have been a battle against time, water and weather.
He said water has pooled around where the culvert that collapsed and the ground is too unstable for work crews.
“It is making everything very unstable,” he said.
He said until the water is removed and the ground stabilizes it’s not safe for workers to get on the site.
On Friday, a special excavator was brought in allowing crews to work from a safe distance while they dug out a huge trench in hopes of clearing away the backed up water.
“Hopefully they can get some sort of bridge on the main Route 114 as opposed to the detour,” said Paul Gaudet, who works at the Hopewell Rocks as an interpreter.
“It’s a vital link down to the Hopewell Rocks and Fundy park and so on. So I am sure they are sure they are going to do their utmost to make sure that something is there in order to allow people to get to us.”
Tourism operators have been have holding out hope the road will be fixed in time for the start of the busy tourism season. Travelers are currently being forced to take a 20 minute detour on a pot hole-infested back road that at times is down to one lane.
Fraser said steps are being taken to patch up the detour until a temporary bridge is brought in to restore passage over the 114.
“We have a two lane modular bridge that we had ordered originally to set up a detour that should be on that road which should be set up in the coming weeks” said Fraser
But he said that’s only after crews can get the site stabilized enough for it to be installed and there are no guarantees on when that will be.
Meanwhile, Fraser said he plans to meet with residents who live near the washed-out road sometimes in the week to address residents’ concerns.
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