The communities of Lark Harbor and York Harbor were cut off from the rest of the province on Thursday, January 6, after heavy rains caused flooding and washouts along Highway 450 on the southern shore of the Bay of Islands.
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure closed the road west of Frenchman’s Cove just after noon, and the roadside information report indicated that a washout had occurred at Madore’s Brook.
The closure prompted the two towns to issue a notice to residents who were in Corner Brook and wanted to return home to travel to the closed area immediately.
A post shared by the two communities said some residents were passing by, but that could change without notice.
Shortly after, they informed that the road was closed and people should avoid the area, and noted that it was not advisable to cross the area. He said residents did so at their own risk.
York Harbor resident Michael Childs crossed the area on his way to Corner Brook at 10:15 a.m. This was before the road closed, but Childs could then tell the situation was not. good, he said.
He said he stopped when he saw all the water on the road and took a video. He also called the city council office and the Ministry of Transport. The council office came back to tell him that they were in contact with the Ministry of Transport.
On the way home, just before noon, he saw that things had gotten worse and took another video.
âYou can see in the video that the right side of the road at the exit is completely washed out over there now,â he said of one of the videos he posted on his Facebook page.
He said he suspected the culvert in the area was either blocked or there was just too much water for him to handle.
âBecause if the water could have passed through the culvert, it wouldn’t have happened,â Childs said.
There was a lot of water on the road, but traffic was still going through it at this time.
âI was nervous, but said I had to get home,â Childs said, adding that another driver said it wasn’t too bad.
“So I just took my chance and drove over. It was scary.”
Just after 2:30 p.m., he posted another video which showed further deterioration of the road as water continued to flow over it.
âWater is a powerful force. It can go and tear up a lot of things very quickly, âhe said.
âIt’s just a horrible turn of events. We haven’t had any luck with the weather here.
Childs said the area had been washed away before and was only repaired a few years ago when a large culvert was installed.
A heavy rainstorm in January 2018 also cut through towns for several days when the road washed away at Rattler’s Brook.
He said he hopes the shutdown won’t be as long this time around.
“But until the water stops, they won’t be able to assess the damage and see if it’s for sure, to see if it’s still intact enough for people to drive in.” , said Childs.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, the City of York Harbor notified SaltWire Network that it expected an update on the situation in a few hours.