Constructing with the coast

Constructing with the coast

May 26, 2010

Nova Scotia’s Highway 101 runs along the coast of the Bay of Fundy from Bedford to Yarmouth and, until recently, was regarded as the province’s most dangerous roadway. Section by section, however, the highway has been undergoing a facelift that is making it much safer for motorists.
 
Three years ago, work began on the three-kilometre stretch of lowland around the town of Windsor, where the highway crosses the Avon River on a causeway. That’s when engineers called on Danika van Proosdij, a geomorphologist at Saint Mary’s University, whose research into the impact of climate change on coastal communities and their infrastructure recently earned her the prestigious Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council.

Relying on past research findings, and new modelling and GIS analysis, the geography professor was able to determine exactly where and by how much the new road would need to be elevated to reduce the risk of flooding in future. Construction will be completed this year.

“We have to start building with the coast,” says van Proosdij, “instead of against it.”