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Dike project expected to provide 200-year protection

Darryl Robson of Lake Construction was among the crew doing diking work along the bottom of Lakes Road Wednesday. - Andrew Leong
Darryl Robson of Lake Construction was among the crew doing diking work along the bottom of Lakes Road Wednesday.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

The bridge at the bottom of Lakes Road in Duncan will remain closed for at least a few more days, as the extensive work on the Lakes and Beverly diking project escalates.

Traffic is being rerouted around the site. The closure went into effect Sunday and the Municipality of North Cowichan expected the detour to remain for a total of about a week, but it's not firm.

"The nature of the work is such that should they run into an issue that caused a delay and we had given a firm date, then we could be criticized that the bridge was not open by the date indicated,'' explained Clay Reitsma, manager of engineering (infrastructure and environment) for North Cowichan. "So we indicated approximately one week for that reason.''

The Emergency Management B.C. Tier 2 North and South Flood Protection project is on time and budget, according to Reitsma.

"These flood protection works will prevent a repeat of the November 2009 flood event south of Somenos,'' Reitsma pointed out. "These projects are protecting for the 200-year flood. The November 2009 flood event was a one-in-a-seven-year flood.''

The Tier 2 North projects are north of the Cowichan River, including the Lakes Road dike, Beverly Street dike, York Road pump station and the Quamichan Village bank stabilization. The projects are being managed by North Cowichan and the total cost is estimated at $4.9 million.

The Lakes Road and Beverly dikes from the roundabout to York Road will essentially be completed by the end of March. The Quamichan Bank stabilization was completed in October of 2012.

Phase 2, the part of the Beverly Street dike from York Road to the Trans-Canada Highway, has started this week. The York Road flood pump station will be constructed this summer and all Phase 2 work is due for completion this fall.

The Tier 2 South projects are south of the river, including the South Side Spur Dike upgrade, Connector dike, Mission Road dike upgrade, Hatchery Road dike and Hatchery dike repair. The projects are being managed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District and total cost is estimated at $3.8 million.

All of the south projects will be constructed this year.

"The deadline for completing all of the projects is March 31, 2014 but we expect to be completed before then,'' noted Reitsma.

He noted the project cost is being covered through a partnership among North Cowichan, the City of Duncan, the CVRD and Cowichan Tribes.

"Some funds are also being provided by the provincial and federal governments through Emergency Management B.C.'s Flood Protection Program,'' added Reitsma.

The breakdown for the EMBC Funding Program works out to one-third from the province, one-third from the feds and one-third from local governments and First Nations.

There is also additional funds of $949,750 being provided through the Gas Tax Funding Program.

The split for the one-third local government and First Nations component is 63.88 % from North Cowichan, 17.67 % from Duncan, 12.30 % from the CVRD and 6.15 % from Cowichan Tribes.

After work is completed, "the dikes will be grassed using hydroseed,'' explained Reitsma. "It will take some time for the grass to grow but eventually the dikes will be grassed.''

Long-term, there will be more flood protection work required on the north side of Somenos Creek, Reitsma indicated.

"In our 2012 funding application, we applied for $2.7 million of funding to construct flood protection works north of Somenos Creek but the funding was denied. North Cowichan intends to undertake the flood protection works north of Somenos Creek as soon as funding can be secured.

"There will also be additional diking needed along the east side of the Trans-Canada Highway up to Bings Creek and across the Trans-Canada Highway tying into high ground near the RCMP (office). A new flood pump station will also be required near the RCMP to pump run-off from the urban area to the south over a new dike running east to west to the south of Bings Creek.''

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