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Torrential rains north of Montreal wreck roads, cut off citizens

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Torrential rains over the past few hours have damaged some twenty sections of road in Chertsey, in the Lanaudière region, while four sectors have left more than a hundred citizens landlocked.

The municipality of Chertsey, about 90 kilometres north of Montreal, took stock on Monday morning of the 120 millimetres of rain that fell on its territory over the past 36 hours.

The northern part of the municipality was the hardest hit, said Chertsey Mayor Michelle Joly.

She added that 90 per cent of landlocked residents should have access to a passable road by 6 p.m. "if all goes well".

"The objective is to restore access (to the roads) to all our citizens, so that they can get around," said Chertsey's general manager, Marc-André Plante, on Monday morning. "It's quite exceptional, in late June, for there to be precipitation and for us to be managing so many situations."

Joly recalled that the municipality of some 5,500 inhabitants has 347 kilometres of roads and 110 lakes.

"We expect further damage in the coming days," she added.

"Adapting to climate variations (...) will require upstream investments with specific support from governments for small municipalities like ours," she said, adding that many of the challenges rest on their shoulders.

Crews have already temporarily repaired damaged sections near Lac Lane and Lac Clermoustier. However, the municipality expects that five or six asphalt roads that were damaged by the rains will require the help of engineers, which could take longer.

Olivier Sicard, the municipality's director of public networks, stresses that the worst is over, but that repairs sometimes take longer as crews have to make several trips between the various damaged sections.

Joly added that Lac des Cygnes had overflowed its banks and that two waterways were under surveillance, the Ouareau and Jean-Venne rivers.

Sécurité publique du Québec reported moderate flooding in the Ouareau River near the head of Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, some 15 km from the municipality of Chertsey.

Plante urged citizens to be cautious on the roads on Monday, particularly in the evening when the cracks are less visible.

He also advised people not to venture out on the Ouareau River in kayaks or canoes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 24, 2024. 

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