Lloyd Ellsworth of Brockton, a retired fisherman, was driving to meet his son in Miminegash around 5 a.m. this morning when he was suddenly confronted by the ravages of Mother Nature.
Ellsworth was heading north on Route 14 towards Miminegash when he ran over a deep section of collapsed road near the edge of Green’s Bridge in St. Lawrence. It was a heavy smack and he called 911 becasue he knew he was hurt.
The area of road affected includes the main Green’s Bridge, a box structure over marshy, tidal land. Part of the structure includes a smaller box culvert for overflow.
While the main bridge is intact, high water undercut the pavement at the overflow, creating a deep, washout trench that extends the full width of the road, says Journal Pioneer reporter Eric McCarthy on the scene.
The pavement has remained intact but has fallen deep enough that, “you would never get out of there,” said McCarthy.
He said very heavy rain this past Sunday would have started the deterioration around the overflow culvert. On Monday, highway crews came and spray-painted big florescent orange X’s on the overflow culvert to mark a growing bump on the road.
Overnight, the bump became a washout.
Ellsworth was taken to Prince County Hospital, where he was treated and is now released.
“Please be advised that Route 14 in Miminegash will be closed between the intersection of Route 152 and the Farley/Cemetary Rd,” says an RCMP statement issued at 5:40 a.m.
It will again create havoc for the area. A larger bride known as the Gully Bridge, just a short way north of this one, has received much political and media attention in the past few years for its washouts and repairs.
The road, however, is the main transportation route for the area so closures make for long detours.
The department of transportation for the province is now advising that the best detour for this latest closure is by way of either the Centreline or the Union roads.
“I don’t know what is going to happen this morning,” said Jaye Gallant of St. Lawrence. “I have two buses come for my kids and they both cross over that bridge.”
She said every time Gully Bridge is discussed in political and media circles, the little St. Lawrence bridge gets ignored. It did, however, benefit from upgrades during a significant upgrade of the larger Gully Bridge last year.
“They keep doing quick fixes but it’s not working,” she said.