The Bell Falls Dam in the western Laurentians is holding firm, despite concerns last week it would burst.

About 60 homes in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge were evacuated Thursday as the dam faced never-before-seen levels of water.

The 107-year-old Hydro dam on the Riviere Rouge is no longer in service. Built to withstand a flow of 960 cubic metres per second, last week water levels surpassed that. While Hydro Quebec was confident the dam would hold up, it couldn’t ensure it was completely safe, because it has never had to sustain that kind of pressure.

If it ruptures, people living downriver would have less than an hour to evacuate their homes.

It looks like the danger is starting to subside, said Hydro Quebec spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard.

“We're asking people to be patient. Keep in mind the average flow is 100 metres per second, so it’s still much higher than it should be and once the water comes down, we'll still have to do some tests, look at our installation – even though we're glad our installation was able to sustain that flow.”

Public security officials so far can’t say when people will be able to return to their homes.