ST. LAWRENCE - Heavy rains and melting snow wallop parts of the Island, including a section of the Center Line Road that connects St. Lawrence to Alma on Saturday morning.
Melanie Doucette watched anxiously as the body of water rises near her home. It was only four years ago that her young family scrambled to safety after the same nearby stream surrounded them. Highway maintenance was working on the bridge on the Center Line Road and it is now open to traffic.
“It’s always a big scare when it starts to heavy rain,” she said.
“In December 2014 we had more than a metre of water in our home and covering our vehicles. The Department of Transportation had to rescue us, and I had an 11-week-old baby. It was a very scary and uncertain time."
Doucette compared the aftermath of the flood to that of a fire.
“It was the same as if a fire had gutted part of our home. It was devastating. But hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
Sheila Tremblay, who also lives on the Center Line Road, said traffic came to a stop because of the flooded bridge. As a result, she was forced her to close her business for the day.
“I live very close to the bridge and my business is run from out of my home, so anyone coming from the highway can’t get to me,” she said.
“The water is gushing across the bridge, and our ditch is filled right to the top with nowhere to run. All the ditches down the road are overflowing.”
Tremblay is frustrated that the road is not paved.
“This is 2018 and there shouldn’t be any dirt roads. This is probably the third or fourth time the road has been fixed. I’ve had my business for six years this May and it’s my only source of income. This morning I had three people cancel because they couldn't cross the bridge.”
She said that with the bridge down she is effectively trapped.
“My husband and I tried to leave the other way out, and I didn’t feel comfortable because the road was so piled up with ice. I told my husband to turnaround and just go back home.”
The bridge was closed at approximately 8.30 a.m.
Environment Canada forecast 40 millimetres of rain to fall on Saturday, with a changeover to freezing rain overnight.
Forecasters warned, “Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will become icy, slippery and hazardous. Utility outages may occur.”
Trucks are out salting the roads in preparation for the freeze.