Proposal request seeks engineering project to combat sea level rise across road link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

Published: July 28, 2019

Updated: August 28, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Work is finally underway on a potential engineering project that will mitigate against sea level rise in Atlantic Canada. Engineers are now looking for ways in which to narrow an important strip the the Chignecto Isthmus sits on between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after a government request for proposals.

A document was released this month asking companies to bid on the right to conduct an “engineering analysis and feasibility assessment of potential solutions” to create mitigation infrastructure on the 20-kilometre corridor between Amherst, N.S., and Sackville, N.B.

Engineering firms must create a project that has three options for “viable and resilient engineered solutions” to keep the roads, dikes, and infrastructure in place but also taking into account rising sea levels due to climate change.

Work would be expected to get underway around Oct. 7 2019 and be completed by Feb. 12, 2021. The document says the area is vulnerable to rising sea levels because “the fact that the Isthmus of Chignecto is only slightly above sea level. Indeed, in some places, without protective dikes some areas of the Isthmus would already be inundated by existing sea levels.”

Officials representing the Sackville and Amherst municipalities say they are waiting to see what proposed projects.

In April, the federal government published study results that found rising sea levels in Atlantic Canada are predicted to rise 75 centimetres relative to sea level rise on the rest of the East Coast before the end of this century.

The 37-page proposal request document was sent out by the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in collaboration with Nova Scotia and the federal government. The paper points out the road remains the main land-based trade route and passenger corridor between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and all points to the west.

The thoroughfare is also used to connect power between the two provinces via high-voltage transmission lines.