New Brunswick shuttered a large section of the Trans-Canada Highway Thursday night, and warned motorists to be on watch for wildlife seeking refuge, as floodwaters rose to record levels along the Saint John River.
The closure, which will occur at approximately 7 p.m. ADT, will affect both the eastbound and westbound lanes, authorities said.
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure appreciates the public's patience as it responds to this flooding event.
Water levels in Saint John reached a record 5.43 metres on Friday, and they're expected to hit 5.9 metres by Monday, according to the province's five-day forecast.
Downey said the rising Saint John River is causing more people to evacuate in areas stretching from Fredericton south to Saint John, which is expected to worsen in the coming days as rain is in the forecast.
"The problem is we're venturing into uncharted territory", he said. "For sure the longer it's closed the more impacts it's going to have. but at least there's an option". The charity has opened shelters in Fredericton and Saint John, he said.
"We are therefore taking steps to increase our capacity and capability for marine operations". The coast guard has since arrived and is working with the provincial EMO.
"As you can see I've got a bunch of good people here and thought I'd give a hand in good faith and as a good Samaritan", Dekany said as he prepared to take another load of people to the island.
The flooding has now moved into its second week, displacing hundreds of residents.
"It's very stressful and maddening that we have to figure it out on our own", she said.
Local residents head to check on their house surrounded by the waters of the St. John River in Fredericton, N.B. on Sunday, April 29, 2018. That includes Randolph and the Westfield Road area along with Ragged Point and Beach roads.
"Roads are closed for a reason, for safety and we don't need people ignoring that", Downey said. "They may be used to it and they may not feel any sense of urgency to evacuate but this year is very different".
The city says residents can leave the area by the train Saturday afternoon at 5 pm.
He has become a symbol of New Brunswick's resilience and neighbourliness, even as heavy rain overnight only added to the misery of many people sandbagging their homes in an effort to hold back the rising waters.
"It is possible that those living in affected areas along the St. John River and in areas identified in the evacuation map may lose power, water and sewer services", SJ EMO said in a news release. The water was still a few feet away from her foundation, but she didn't know how much higher it would rise.
Earlier this week, Saint John issued a voluntary evacuation notice affecting about 2,000 residents in several neighbourhoods, and the province on Friday encouraged people to leave their homes before the weekend.
The province has shut down its river ferries with the exception of the Gondola Point ferry, which continues to cross the Kennebecasis River.
When the Trans-Canada Highway is closed, those travelling between Moncton and Fredericton will be detoured to Route 1 through River Glade and Route 7 at Oromocto.
Barricades and signage will be in place to guide motorists.
A growing number of roads in low-lying areas are becoming water-covered and impassable.
"People are asking for all kinds of sand and sandbags - that's a huge one right now", he said.
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