Water levels creep higher toward Lessard Bridge. Image credit: M.D. of Bonnyville.
Twenty-four truckloads of rock were put in on the south side of Lessard Bridge on Friday night and that has helped mitigate the impacts of rising water levels.
On Friday, the M.D. of Bonnyville closed Lessard Bridge on Range Road 452 to all traffic as the Beaver River continued to rise after last week’s heavy rainfall with no timeline to re-open.
Alberta Environment estimates the Beaver River is 2.5 metres higher than normal.
Lessard Bridge re-opened in March 2019 after spring runoff and ice floes damaged the pillars that held up the bridge deck in 2018.
Residents are being asked to stay away from the river at this time.
‘Paints a picture as to where we have drainage issues’
Reeve Greg Sawchuk said last Thursday on The Morning After, before the bridge was closed, that flooding and drainage is becoming more of an issue year-by-year.
“This is essentially the third year with above-average rainfall. And the groundwater, it’s come up, obviously, the land is saturated, we just came through the spring runoff and melt–it really can’t absorb a whole bunch right now,” said Sawchuk.
“So we were really kind of–I wouldn’t say crisis mode–I think our staff handled it incredibly. They got out there, they got out the pumps, with the first priorities obviously being people’s homes and municipal infrastructure, so ensuring that roads didn’t wash out and that if there were concerns there was water running over, that they close those roads.”
“What this does do is it actually paints a nice picture as to where we have drainage issues. And now what’s being assessed by our ag people is how much damage is done to the crops out there. Because what we saw in a lot of places the ditches would not hold as much water as they would normally under one or two-inch rain, and they overflowed.
“They flew out into the crops and lots of our fields have low lying areas and then they hold that water, and then your crop drowns out basically. So, we don’t know what the extent of the crop damage is going to be yet, but it’s going to be significant.”
M.D. road closures
The M.D. of Bonnyville is updating road closures on their website.
- Twp. Rd. 624, east of Rge. Rd. 485 (Tiller’s Bridge)
- Twp. Rd. 644 at Rge. Rd. 475
- Rge. Rd. 463, south of Twp. Rd. 644
- Twp. Rd. 644 at Rge. Rd. 462A
- Twp. Rd. 642 at Rge. Rd. 455
- Twp. Rd. 615 at Rge. Rd. 413
- Rge. Rd. 490, north of Highway 55.
- Siebert Lake Road
- Lessard Bridge on Rge. Rd. 452
M.D. roads with water running across them
- Twp. Rd. 592, between Rge. Rds. 474 and 475
- Rge. Rd. 473, north of Twp. Rd. 590
- Rge. Rd. 471, south of Twp. Rd. 644A
- Rge. Rd. 462 at Twp. Rd. 642
- Rge. Rd. 435, south of Twp. Rd. 602
- Twp. Rd. 603, west of Rge. Rd. 434
- Rge. Rd. 435, near intersection of Twp. Rd. 620
If you see flooding issues in the M.D., call their hotline at 780-812-5000.