NL government cannot say when storm-washed roads will be restored

Andrew Furey
Prime Minister Andrew Furey says it is too early to establish a timeline of when roads damaged by the rainstorm that hit southwestern Newfoundland will be repaired, as the full extent of the damage is unknown. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Government officials are unable to say when the roads damaged by an unprecedented rainstorm slashing southwestern Newfoundland will be repaired as rain continues to fall Wednesday afternoon.

“This is not a 48-hour solution,” Transportation Secretary Elvis Loveless said at an afternoon media conference. “This is a big storm. We know that. But our crews are ready.”

The department has reported subsidence at four locations across the Trans-Canada Highway, as well as roads in the Codroy Valley, Channel-Port aux Basques, and the surrounding area.

Crews also watch the rising water levels in the Rose Blanche area of ​​the province, along with the Grand Bay Bridge in Port aux Basques.

Repairs could begin once the province has an idea of ​​the full situation, and Loveless said the damaged Trans-Canada Highway is a top priority.

Prime Minister Andrew Furey said the storm is an evolving situation and the full extent of damage is unknown.

But he did say the province has helicopters that can transport people from the Port aux Basques region if needed, as roads in and around the community have been washed away.

WATCH: Transportation Secretary Elvis Loveless says repairing the Trans-Canada Highway is top priority:

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Trans-Canada Highway restores ‘priority’ after storm in NL says minister

Repairing the four washed-out sites of the Trans-Canada highway in Newfoundland and Labrador will not be a ’48-hour repair’, says Transport and Infrastructure Secretary Elvis Loveless. First the rain has to stop. (Carl Bissonnette) 1:02

Crews worked all day to assess the damage, with Furey encouraging people to stay home and off the road so crews can operate effectively.

“We take this storm very seriously and we want you to take this seriously,” Furey said.

Contingency plan for deliveries: Furey

The province is also working with Marine Atlantic, which operates the ferry — a vital link that brings food and other supplies to Port aux Basques — to ensure a safe return to operations.

Furey said Marine Atlantic has a contingency plan in place regarding the ferry terminal in Argentia, and a decision could be made if necessary to divert supplies to the port.

View the full update here:

“Once you have the cargo and the people here, the road is now the problem,” said Industry Secretary Andrew Parsons.

Furey said they are not yet concerned about supplies in the province, adding that the federal government and the Red Cross are ready to help when needed.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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