'The river's full': Water levels increase along St. John River

1 / 3

'The river's full': Water levels increase along St. John River

'The river's full': Water levels increase along St. John River

A rising St. John River near Fredericton caused concern Tuesday for both residents and officials with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

Robert Duguay, a spokesperson with EMO, said water levels between the Fredericton and Jemseg area were expected to stay around flood stage throughout the day.

At a command post set up at the Burton Bridge near Oromocto, vehicles had to get special passes to continue on Route 105, where water has spilled onto the pavement in some areas.

Residents living in the area must prove vehicle and resident status.

- Water levels expected to remain steady in coming days, EMO says 

​Jason Cooling, another EMO spokesperson, said the passes are part of a system put in place in an earlier year in case of flooding.

School buses will not be permitted to travel through the water on Route 105, and the maximum driving speed has been reduced to 70 kilometres an hour, Cooling said.

The road itself will not close unless water levels increase, he said.

"This is all about preparation and planning," he said. "We're getting ready for the eventuality of high water. We know we're going to get it. It's a matter of when and how much."

The area had already seen about 20 millimetres of rain, and five to 10 millimetres more rain was expected throughout the day and into the night, with more showers in the forecast for Wednesday.

"It's hard to accurately judge where we're going other than up if we get rain," Cooling said.

Keeping an eye on the water

Cooling said there's a great deal of water in Grand Lake, the fields behind Maugerville and the Sheffield areas. 

"The river's full," he said.

The local service district of Maugerville held a public meeting about rising water levels.

Jody Price, fire chief with the Oromocto Fire Department, told people at the meeting to remain observant and be careful along Route 105 near the water.

"Everybody's keeping an eye on what's going to happen on the weekend with rain," he said.

He said there's been a lot of traffic in the area and if vehicles are driving too quickly, they can hydroplane and go into the river.

"It's a very dangerous place to be … especially if people aren't paying attention to the speed limits," said Price. 

Duguay said residents should avoid roads covered with water altogether.

"Drivers are taking a lot of risk when driving on a road covered by water," he said. "They could get stuck, even be dragged away by water."