Stoney Creek washout could have impact on tourist season

The washout of Route 114 leading to the Hopewell Rocks and Fundy National Park last week leaves local people with a 20-minute detour and could affect the coming tourist season, according to Transportation Minister Bill Fraser.

"Obviously, we know how important, especially this summer with the tourist season coming up, the road that leads into Hopewell Rocks and to Fundy park [is]," he said.

Last week, a large section of the road collapsed near Stoney Creek.

The culvert underneath was scheduled for work this spring, and Fraser said parts had already been ordered.

 "Including a new modular bridge, so that we can install a temporary detour on Route 114 until a full replacement can be made," he said.

"But this washout will likely add to the complexity of that repair now."

Despite its recent collapse, the road hasn't fully failed and crews are waiting for that to happen.

Prior to last Thursday's incident, water from a creek upstream ran through the culvert — which also collapsed — below the road. Now, that water is collecting in the creek and is rising by roughly one metre per day.

Now, it's a matter of waiting for the water to rise high enough to wash away the collapsed road and maybe even the broken culvert, too. That is expected to happen in the next few days.

Until it does, the site isn't stable.

Fraser said he can't guess how long it will take to repair the road until an assessment is done on the area. The first job is to stabilize the site, on the route used to get from Moncton to Fundy park.

A short detour the department had planned to create during the maintenance project will no longer work.

Until another detour is created or the road is repaired, that stretch is impassable, said Fraser, who is asking people to stay away from the collapse. 

"A number of people are walking out on the compromised section of the road, and we're warning people not to do this," he said. 

"People who are ignoring these warnings are putting themselves in very real danger."

He said it seems most people going to the road collapse are drawn there out of curiosity.

"We have barricades up," he said. "We actually have people on site now to tell people that they are not allowed in there."

Fraser said the road collapsed was most likely caused by the condition of the culvert, a high tide, snow melt and precipitation.