FORTUNE, N.L. – A $2-million project is underway on Route 220 between Grand Bank and Fortune that will include the realignment of a section of the highway away from a steep embankment that drops into the ocean.
Erosion of the bank had become a concern for the councils in both Grand Bank and Fortune, in particular given that school buses regularly travel over the road.
The condition of the embankment has remained stable over the last number of years, with no movement, according to the Department of Transportation and Works, which has been using Global Positioning System (GPS) survey equipment to monitor the area regularly.
The Southern Gazette requested an interview with Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker about the project but, as he was unavailable, department communication staff provided answers to submitted questions via email instead.
“While the planned work is proceeding this year, no safety-related or structural issue has formed to date,” the department confirmed.
The project, which started a few weeks ago and should be completed this summer, will see the rehabilitation of a 4.6-kilometre stretch of the highway between the two towns. That includes a realignment of 600 metres of the road.
“The work along this section includes slope stabilization measures to address slope deterioration in rough weather,” the department acknowledged.
“These measures involve moving the road further away from the water, as well as the placement of Class II rip rap to further protect slopes where required.”
Rip rap is rock or other materials used to protect shorelines from water erosion.
The realignment work also includes grubbing, removal of unsuitable material, placement of rock fill, installation of culverts, as well as placement of granulars and base asphalt.
The realigned section will then be resurfaced with surface asphalt as a part of the resurfacing of the entire project from Fortune to Grand Bank, according to the department.
The shift in the road will be up to 15 metres at its farthest point, near the culvert, the department confirmed, also adding there were no obstacles in the way that prevented the planned movement of the highway or influenced the design of the realignment.
“The Department of Transportation and Works is confident this work is a permanent solution to address any potential erosion concerns that might otherwise have formed in the future,” the email stated.