Originally categorized as a tropical storm, the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Igor was overwhelming.
“On September 21, 2010 the storm blew into the island of Newfoundland with enough force to close roads, shut down highway traffic and put some coastal communities at risk,” says Terry Dunn, AIL’s Newfoundland Regional Manager
As the winds subsided and the debris settled, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador knew they had a problem on their hands. When AIL got the call to supply hundreds of needed culvert replacements, we put all other work on hold, rallied our troops and came to the aid of the Newfoundland people.
“Igor collapsed roads, brought down bridges, destroyed culverts, knocked out power and even sparked a couple of house fires as it pushed aggressively through south eastern Newfoundland, dropping more than 200 mm of rain,” says Dunn. “Highways looked more like swimming pools.”
Many of the washed out roads were the only link between certain rural areas and the nearest hospital or grocery stores, so the government had to act fast to repair the damage.
“Igor ripped them out and tossed them away,” says CBC reporter Jessica Doria Brown, speaking of more than 100 culverts destroyed by the hurricane. “These mangled bits of steel are all that’s left of the backbone that was many roads. The hurricane-driven waters blew out what we all took for granted.”
Since September 22nd, production hasn’t stopped at the AIL manufacturing plant in Deer Lake.
“We were ready to go,” says Dunn. “Whatever the government needed, we were ready to spin the pipe out.”
The AIL team has been working tirelessly to help repair the damage. Since the call came in AIL workers in Newfoundland have been putting in 16 to18 hour days, seven days a week.
“They’re tired, but happy to be helping,” says Dunn.
The hurricane brought wash outs all over, and replacing the culverts meant manufacturing pipe in various sizes for many applications. So far, our team has produced culverts from 500 mm to 3600 mm, in Round and Pipe Arch shapes, aluminum and aluminized. We’ve also supplied Structural Plate Arch and Box Culverts in steel and aluminum.
This isn’t the first time AIL has replaced storm-battered culverts, explains Dunn. “Hurricane Chantelle was the last big one in 2007, and work went on for a year. But Chantelle was a baby compared to Hurricane Igor.”
As long as there are roads to repair, the AIL team in Newfoundland, will continue to spin out the pipe.