YARMOUTH COUNTY - Dirt road depression is hitting those unlucky enough to live on one during the region’s mid-winter thaw-and-freeze cycle.
Residents on the Rocco Point Road in Yarmouth County sound like they have the prize winner for the worst.
Tommy and Jolynn Muise overlook frequently flooded sections of the road from their home.
Where the Rocco Point Road transitions from paved to dirt, regular high tides are level with the road. High course or storm tides can be several feet deep over the road.
“When it goes over the road, it rushes,” Tommy said. “The current could knock you off your feet.”
The Muises have resided at their location for 13 years and although the road has flooded in the past, during the last five to seven years the situation has worsened.
Close to 20 live on the road, including three RCMP members and essential health workers. The three-kilometre road ends in a working wharf.
Tommy Muise says that at the three places where the road is flooding, it’s sinking in the marsh.
“When it floods, it’s wiping off the gravel,” he said.
When the road is graded, it becomes even lower. Road crews did come out this winter to grade ruts down so residents could pass.
“I’ve never seen that before but it did help,” said Muise.
Three school buses use the route daily but Muise says sometimes the drivers refuse to cross the flooded sections because they don’t know if the road has eroded away.
Even the paved section of the road has been neglected, adds Muise. He says last year was the first in 20 that the roadside alders were bushwhacked.
Cpl. Mario Ross with the Yarmouth County RCMP detachment owns a home on the road and says it’s a nightmare in bad weather.
“It feels like quicksand at times,” he said.
He adds that drivers can try to be on the right side of the road but mud often redirects them into the middle or completely to the left. The same scenario is repeated in the winter.
“The road is not considered a priority road so plowing is delayed. I have personally pushed vehicles on that road,” he said.
Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont says there are solutions to the problem but none that are immediate and he understands the frustration of the residents.
“There is work that’s going to be happening in the spring, hopefully when things dry up, to sort of lift the bed and try to get it up above the high-water mark. But that’s something that’s planned for springtime rather than the middle of winter when we’re going through these high tides,” he said.
He added that transportation department officials are watching the situation closely.
“I know residents feel a little abandoned there. I can assure them they are not. But the challenge is, we’ve never seen water this high there before.”
D’Entremont says there are a number of roads across the constituency that are low and require raising. The Tittle Road on Surette’s Island is another example.
Earlier freeze/thaw cycles this winter are another challenge that are turning some roads to “complete soup.”
He says the issue is an added challenge for the department. Work is underway to estimate costs for the raising of affected roads.