Route 114 culvert wasn't replaced soon enough, Opposition MLA says

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A culvert that washed out on Route 114 near Stoney Creek was not replaced soon enough, says the Progressive Conservative MLA for Albert.

Brian Keirstead said repairs to the culvert were scheduled for this year, and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure was aware it was a major concern for the area.

"In fairness, we are seeing a lot more run-off water levels, that sort of thing is taking an effect on our culverts," Keirstead said. "We do have a lot of run-off areas going into the Petitcodiac River, so of course we're going to have probably more [washouts] than another area.

"But I agree these are priority items that maybe are being left too long before they are looked at and repaired."

- Washout on Route 114 exposes growing problem of aging infrastructure

Keirstead said it's a case of déjà vu for the citizens in Albert County, who went through a similar situation in 2014. Fortunately, nobody was injured by the washout, but he said these types of things should be avoided at all costs.

He said it's the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure's responsibility to assess the need for repairs. The politicians just "fight for the funds for the project."

"As far as who does what, that's not determined by the politicians or the party. That would be certainly with the Department of Transportation and their engineers because I'm certainly not an engineer, my predecessor wasn't an engineer," said Keirstead.

'Safety is the number one factor'

Keirstead said safety has been the number one priority since the washout forced the road closure last week.

The Transportation Department set up warning signs at each end and leading into the site. Security guards are there to  ensure individuals and drivers stay off the road.

While he was not sure of the timeline for the project and repairs, Keirstead said a two-lane modular bridge had been ordered and will be put in place as soon as it comes in.

Keirstead said he would like to see an adequate structure installed to accommodate the increase in water levels and likelihood of washouts.

"I don't know whether a bridge or a culvert would be the better fix for that," he said. "That would have to be up to the engineers, but I just want something that's going to be there permanently and isn't going to cause us any grief anymore.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure could not be reached for comment.