Roads severely damaged in Smoky region

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Water runs from a flooded farmer’s field over Range Road 220 south of Township Road 782.

About 30 roads in the M.D. of Smoky River were hit hard by flooding last month.

“We are still dealing with the aftermath and everyone needs to drive with caution,” says Kevin Cymbaluk, director of operations for Smoky River.

Spring runoff on April 22 caused severe damage to the road network, the M.D. stated on its website on April 24.

As a result, flooding caused 29 temporary road closures and caused some damage to numerous other roads within the network.

“Most roads will be restored to traffic within two weeks,” Cymbaluk writes in an e-mail April 29.

Other work, such as washouts, approaches and ditch repairs will likely take considerably longer, he says.

The most affected regions were in the area around Guy, the area south of Donnelly and the Whitemud area.

The current storm water drainage system was unable to handle this year’s runoff due to the unseasonably heavy snowfall in late March and early April, Cymbaluk says.

Rising temperatures above zero throughout several evenings added to the rush and damage.

Public works employees and the protective services department have been working diligently to ensure the safety of residents.

Hazardous areas of roads have been flagged or barricaded to protect motorists and an “Aqua Dam,” a “Tiger Dam” flood control system and gravel berms have been used to protect residences from rising floodwater.

Things could have been worse.

“It definitely wasn’t as bad as it was in 2018.”

No evacuations were necessary in the M.D. and there was minimal damage to private property compared to 2018.

Flooding is a recurrent issue in the Smoky River region, the most recent flooding occurring only two years ago on April 26-29, 2018.

Due to development in the region, there are fewer forested and wetland areas to help retain the snow, amplifying the effects of a rapid melt, Cymbaluk says.

The M.D. continues to improve its storm water drainage capacity to prevent severe flooding in the future.

Smoky River staff reminds everyone to be aware of the hazards of unnecessary travel at this time and thank the community for their co-operation.

Anyone who sees any unsafe conditions at this time which are not yet flagged, please phone the M.D. office at [780] 837-2221.

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