Meltwater Moves A Bridge Too Far


Stephen Luntz

Stephen has a science degree with a major in physics, an arts degree with majors in English Literature and History and Philosophy of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.

Freelance Writer

769 Meltwater Moves A Bridge Too Far
Rene Girouard. This ice and wood caught up in the river added to pressure on this Canadian bridge
There are few forces as powerful on Earth as large amounts of water under pressure. Put in some solid objects brought along with the flow and the devastation can be truly tremendous. Usually however, all we get to see is what is left behind, rather than the act of destruction. However, when the Bouctouche River melted cameras were on hand to witness the effects on the bridge at Ste-Marie-de—Kent, New Brunswick, Canada.

The Bouctouche is normally not a particularly large river, and the area it drains is tiny compared to some nearby, but when the winter's ice melts quickly the results are there for all to see. Fortunately, while the bridge was damaged, it only shifted 1-2m rather than breaking apart entirely. There are two more river crossing before the Bouctouche reaches the Atlantic, so had the bridge come loose it could have turned into a battering ram taking the lower bridges with it.

This winter has been both cold and long in New Brunswick, with snow persisting beyond the date when it normally clears. However, once the weather finally started to warm up it did so with the speed that comes from the longer days and warmer ocean temperatures of late April. Bridges that have survived melts for decades are feeling the pressure
Floodwaters have close 75 roads across the small province and the provincial budget for recovery has already been exceeded.
Meanwhile on the Canaan River also New Brunswick, CBC received footage of the eighty seven year old Cherryvale Covered Bridge heading straight out to sea.