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Dikes to protect N.S.-N.B. link from flooding expected to cost hundreds of millions

Click to play video: 'N.S., N.B., look at options to protect land corridor from climate change' N.S., N.B., look at options to protect land corridor from climate change
WATCH: The governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are looking at three options to protect the only land corridor between the two provinces from climate change. The threat of floods due to rising sea levels in the area could have a major impact on trade and supply chain issues in the Maritimes. Suzanne Lapointe has more – Mar 18, 2022

An engineering study looking at three options to save the land link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from climate-related flooding is pegging costs at between $189 million and just over $300 million.

The study released today suggests either raising the height of the existing 35 kilometres of dikes for an estimated $200 million, building a new dike at a cost of $189 million, or raising the existing dikes and installing steel sheet pile walls in select locations for about $301 million.

Read more: Rising seas: Delays to safeguarding Chignecto Isthmus worry N.S., N.B. politicians

The study anticipates that once an option is chosen, it would take five years for construction to begin, and the project wouldn’t be completed until 10 years after the start date.

Experts have for decades warned that the combination of a high tide with a powerful storm up the Bay of Fundy could overwhelm aging dikes and flood large portions of Amherst, N.S., as well as neighbouring Sackville, N.B.

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Meanwhile the sea level at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy has been rising at a rate of about 2.4 millimetres a year over the past century, even as the dikes and coastal land continue to subside.

If a flooding disaster occurs, vital transportation that carries about $35 billion in trade annually would be disrupted, and both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador’s supply of food, medicine and other essentials could be severely reduced.

Read more: How climate change is threatening the Chignecto Isthmus

Consultants Wood Canada Ltd. were chosen to carry out the study in January 2020, but there have been repeated delays in the date of its delivery, and it was only provided to the provinces and the federal government in January 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2022.

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