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Bids sought for ways to protect Chignecto Isthmus from risk posed by rising seas

Nature Conservancy of Canada/Mike Dembeck

A request for engineering proposals on how to protect a narrow and vital corridor of land joining New Brunswick to Nova Scotia from rising sea levels and storms has been issued.

The long-awaited, $700,000 process asks firms to come up with three different options for viable, resilient solutions to protect the roads, dikes and infrastructure on the Chignecto Isthmus, taking climate change into account.

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The 37-page document issued Monday by the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure – which is partnering with Nova Scotia and Ottawa – says the corridor is the main route for all land-based trade and passenger travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and all points west.

The corridor’s high-voltage transmission lines are considered crucial to both provinces, and the area is also the route that will carry Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity from Labrador to its key markets.

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Previous studies have estimated the value of trade passing through the Chignecto corridor at $50 million per day, with an average of about 2,490 vehicles using the route daily.

The request for proposals says that climate-related sea-level rise and the frequency and intensity of storm surges has made the isthmus – and the dikes protecting the Amherst, N.S., Sackville, N.B., and nearby rural communities – “particularly vulnerable to climate change.”

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