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Volatile storm brings heavy rain, high winds to Tantramar region


Sackville, surrounding communities challenged with road closures, fallen trees, power outages

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Many residents throughout the Tantramar region continue to feel the impact of a wild weekend storm, which left thousands in the cold and dark following widespread power outages and countless flooded basements.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 700 homes in the area were still without power following the blast that downed trees, broke power poles, flooded roads and closed the highway.

The storm, which was at its peak on Saturday night saw wind gusts in excess of 100 km/h, also brought heavy rains that caused extensive flooding in many parts of the region, particularly West Sackville.

“Our public works crew was busy through the night tending to a variety of issues, including several large trees down and several road closures,” said Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the town of Sackville.

Burke said town crews spent the night monitoring water levels and ensuring public streets were passable and safe.

“We also had shoulder washouts and our crews will be working over the next couple of days to clean up any additional trees that require removal and fixing any washouts that have occurred.”

Burke said the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) was forced to close Route 935, at the intersection heading toward Woodpoint/Westcock. DTI has been working at the site for several months to install new concrete culverts to alleviate the flood situation there; the detour road, which had been built to move traffic around the project, flooded following the heavy rains and incoming tide.

Route 106 at Queens Road was also closed due to flooding. Burke said DTI had staff on site throughout the weekend monitoring water levels.

“While Route 106 has been reopened, Route 935 will remain closed for several more days as DTI repairs the damage to the bypass road at the construction site.”

Main Street, between Bridge and Salem Street, was also closed Saturday night and into Sunday because of a power pole failure and a large tree down on Rectory Lane, said Burke.

Caution signage was put up on St. James Street because the water level reached the asphalt surface.

“Overall, we had several large trees obstruct a variety of streets, which staff removed.”

The storm forced the closure of the Trans Canada highway between Sackville and Aulac Saturday night.

Sackville Fire Chief Craig Bowser said his firefighters were called to the scene of an accident on the highway Saturday evening, where a tractor trailer had flipped on its side.

“The winds were really bad on the highway,” said Bowser.

So in consultation with DTI, it was decided to put a no-travel advisory in effect for high-sided vehicles for several hours.

The local fire department also responded to about a dozen other calls throughout the night, mainly related to trees being down on power lines or trees across the road.

“We would secure the area and then wait for NB Power to arrive,” he said.

Burke said staff was also kept busy this weekend trying to keep residents informed of the events throughout the weekend.

“Updates were provided regularly, via our social media channels, as we tried to get timely information out to residents,” he said.

Burke thanked the public for their cooperation, both during and after the storm, and for sharing the updates so widely as “it was a great help.”

NB Power, in an emailed statement sent out Monday afternoon, asked residents to continue to remain patient while crews work to repair damage and restore power.

The effects of the storm continued to impact more than 40,000 customers as of Monday and while most were expected to be restored within 24 to 48 hours, it is possible some could be without power as long as 72 hours.

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