April 26th, 2018

Rising levels of concern in county


By Lethbridge Herald on April 16, 2018.

A sign warns motorists of flooding while a transport truck splashes through water over part of the intersection of Highway 4 and Highway 845. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dave Mabell
Lethbridge Herald
dmabell@lethbridgeherald.com
A state of local emergency remains in effect in Lethbridge County, as meltwater continues to flood culverts and roadways.
Some county roads are closed and impassable, officials report, as overland water overflows ditches and begins streaming across the gravel or pavement.
“County council believes that there is an imminent hazard to infrastructure and property and has directed municipal staff to undertake whatever actions are necessary to protect private and public property from damage with a special emphasis on the protection of residential dwellings and commercial/industrial structures,” officials say.
While some areas have escaped high waters, Reeve Lorne Hickey says residents of others are reporting dangerous situations. South of Coaldale, he reports, one driver was forced to abandon his half-ton truck after it stalled as he attempted to cross a county road.
“It was halfway up his door,” Hickey says.
Flooding continues to be localized, officials report. County land south of Coaldale and Lethbridge is one of the harder-hit areas, the reeve notes.
Much of it drains west, through the Wilson Siding area — where water overflowed a secondary highway on Monday — and into the Oldman River through the Six Mile Coulee waterway in the city.
County crews are working to mitigate flooding and have sent pumps to some areas. Hickey says about 60 of the county’s full-time employees may be deployed in that effort.
“And we’re trying to find some rental equipment” to supplement County gear.
Some culverts have been washed out, the reeve says.
“The drains just can’t handle that much water.”
If County residents have buildings or above-ground structures in danger of flooding, they’re urged to call the County — 403-732-5333 — for help. The after-hours number is 403-328-5525, where callers can follow voice prompts to report their situation.
Residents who are aware that water has impacted a roadway in their area and it does not have barricades or signs are asked to call the same numbers.
They’re asked not to use Facebook or Twitter to report public works emergencies because they’re not monitored around the clock.
An updated list of County roads closed by flooding is posted on the County website, http://www.lethcounty.ca.
Elsewhere across southern Alberta, emergency crews were battling high water in the municipal districts of Taber and Willow Creek. Other areas were less impacted.
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