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‘Tiger Dam’ being built on Highway 1 in Abbotsford to hold back floodwaters

Ministry of Transportation begins work Sunday night; freeway closed to all traffic
Military personnel help with the placement of a Tiger Dam on Sunday night (Nov. 28) across Highway 1 near Cole Road in Abbotsford. (PHOTO: Abbotsford Police Department)

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is building a “Tiger Dam” across Highway 1 on Sunday evening (Nov. 28) to try to keep floodwaters in the Sumas River.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) posted on social media at about 6 p.m. Sunday that Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack is closed to all traffic, including emergency, essential and construction vehicles.

“A dam is currently being built and no access will be possible,” the post states.

APD media spokesperson Const. Paul Walker told The Abbotsford News that the Tiger Dam is being positioned across Highway 1 near the Cole Road area.

RELATED: Hwy. 1 between Chilliwack and Abbotsford closed due to flooding threat

This type of dam is a series of water-filled tubes over a metre in height that create a barrier.

It is created on flat ground and anchored into the pavement at regular intervals along the length of the dam.

Walker describes it as similar to “one big giant sandbag.” He did not know how long the dam will be or how long it might be in place.

He said it’s being built near Cole Road because that area is lower in elevation than portions west of there.

“So the water would generally spill out there, but it was overfilling. So they’re trying to prevent it from spewing out, and keeping it in the channel,” Walker said.

Water in the Sumas River makes its way to the Barrowtown Pump Station, where it is funnelled into the Fraser River.

No further information on the Tiger Dam, including why the option wasn’t used sooner or in other locations, was available at this time.

Earlier on Sunday, the city said that the floodgates at the pump station had to be closed, which occurs when the Fraser River is not at a low enough level.

It was also announced Sunday afternoon that the Nooksack River in the U.S, had overflowed its banks and the water was heading into Abbotsford, where an evacuation order had been issued for Huntingdon Village.

RELATED: City of Sumas sounds flood siren, Nooksack flowing into Abbotsford

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