The RM of Torch River will be replacing 31 aging or damaged culverts throughout the rural municipality to increase their capacity to handle any spring flooding.
“Through our asset management plan we were able to identify those we had issues with,” said David Yorke, the RM’s administrator.
“This will ensure that spring water moves more efficiently through the municipality. Also a number of culverts are damaged, so it allows us to replace those probably faster than we may have before and we don’t have to use as many rate payer dollars to do it.”
While this past year has passed without spring flooding, it has been an issue in the past. In 2017, the municipality declared a state of emergency after high water levels and river ice led to the closure of 22 roads in the community.
There are about 3,600 culverts within the rural municipality.
Yorke said that over the past three years, their asset management co-ordinator has inspected every culvert within the municipality, choosing the 31 locations that were “in desperate need” of replacement.
“What we used to do was to get the proper length of a culvert, we would actually have to attach two pieces together and part of the problem that happens over time is that spot for that coupler where they come together will work itself loose. That’s where we find our biggest failure is on our culverts.”
To make matters worse, Yorke said these culverts would typically be built under roads.
“We’re now going into culverts that are one piece. That’s going to be an advantage into the future because we’re not going to have that failure happen,” he said. “By going to one piece culverts that will certainly alleviate the issue.”
Funding for the project is coming from the community, culture, recreation and green infrastructure streams of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. For the culvert project, the federal government is contributing approximately $177,000, the province is contributing about $147,000, and the municipality will be responsible for the remaining approximate $118,000.
Work is expected to start in early August, with the first 11 being done this summer. The project itself has until 2025 to be completed as a stipulation of the funding.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal