The shutdown means residents of the area are facing a long diversion due to East Hurts Highway Deteriorates Less Than 24 Hours
A section of East Hunts Highway in Nova Scotia that was reopened on Friday after a week of repairs was closed again in less than 24 hours due to heavy rainfall on Saturday.
Repairs on the highway section were ongoing in South Maitland near the intersection with Highway 236, following significant damage from historic floods in July.
When it reopened on Friday evening for the long weekend, the work wasn’t fully completed, and the road wasn’t even paved.
Lisa Thiel, a resident of the area, said she was excited about the reopening as it meant avoiding a lengthy detour to her work in Colchester County.
But her excitement was temporary
“With the way the rain came down in the past two weeks, we had to spend an hour just getting to work,” Thiel said.
“And it literally got opened up one night and it rained so much, and now it’s flowing again.”
East Herts Highway washed away in less than 24 hours after reopening
Thiel also mentioned she runs a small farm and had to postpone delivering meat and eggs to nearby customers.
According to Thiel, the repair team had filled in large holes on the road caused by the previous floods, but they hadn’t addressed the root issue – blocked drainage systems.
She explained that since water couldn’t escape through the blocked drains, it accumulated and flowed onto the road.
Andrew Wilson mentioned he had only been in the area for a year and had seen the road flow twice.
Like Thiel, Wilson believes the underlying drainage problem hasn’t been resolved.
“They just put gravel down and let us drive on it, and they haven’t really fixed it,” Wilson said.
“I don’t think that’s enough to open the road, personally. They should have waited until they decided that we can actually use it properly, instead of just staying open for 24 hours and getting washed out again.”
Wilson’s neighbor, Kelly Finnegan, expressed stress over seeing the road flow twice.
Finnegan’s property experienced flooding. She shared that she and other neighbors used their tractors to clear debris from the road so their vehicles could come in and go out.
Eastern Shore MLA John A. Macdonald mentioned that despite the road reopening on Friday, more work is scheduled, including addressing the drainage issues.
Macdonald stated that the province’s priority is always to reopen major roads as quickly as possible.
“These contractors are professionals. They know how roads are built… I don’t think anyone was expecting us to get another 60-70 millimeters of rain.”
“After all the necessary improvements are done, I’m hoping this issue won’t remain. I have full confidence in the public work and the contractors to get it right.”
Finnegan expressed her belief that drainage issues should have been tackled before other road repairs.
“It’s like putting the cart before the horse,” she said.
“They knew they had to do it over again. If it were me, I’d think I would address the drainage issue first and then fix the road.”
Macdonald mentioned that roads to some homes in the area were washed out during the floods. He noted that staff were working on Sunday to restore access.
He said he wasn’t aware of any new evacuations over the weekend. He mentioned that some people are still in the recovery process from the July floods.
Thiel shared that her recent experiences during the recent floods and Tropical Storm Fiona, where she was without power for 12 days, have made her wonder if some communities aren’t a priority for the government.
“It’s frightening,” she said. “And to me, it seems like we don’t matter as much as the more populated areas.”