The Valmaotsa–Palupõhja road, well known to those in the habit of picking cranberries in Laeva swamp, is underwater again, despite renovated and lifted last year. Designer’s representative says more culverts are needed.
«It’s like a waterfall here, rumbling and rushing as always, at high water,» is how Tiina Oetjen, nature conservation society Kotkas project manager, described the situation at first section of Valmaotsa–Palupõhja road. «The difference being, that prior to repairs, water went nicely over the road. Now it takes the road with it.»
She is not exaggerating. Laeva River, way out of its bounds, has swelled high, at the right hand side, behind the uplifted roadside – like a dam – and goes gushing over it.
At the left, upper layer of crushed stone from close to three hundred metres of the road has been washed away. Geotextile is showing in the muddy waters. Some fifty metres further along, the crushed-stone-covering is missing up to the middle of the road.
Nature is boss
«One might pass with wellingtons… With a small car, don’t you dare come. There’s holes here, bitten by the waters,» warns Tiina Oetjen, adding that, yesterday, they had to search for a large vehicle for campers gathered for Palupõhja Nature School.
Valmaotsa–Palupõhja road was repaired, last year, by State Forest Management Centre (SFMC). The bill was €780,000, the money came from European Regional Development Fund. «Apparently there are not enough culverts here for the water to flow through. And the nature is boss again,» stated Tiina Oetjen.
Yesterday before noon, both SFMC and road designing company representatives came to visit the «boss».
«We did make culverts here. Evidently, not enough,» said engineer Tõnu Torim of design bureau Maa ja Vesi, author of the substantial Valmaotsa–Palupõhja road repairs design. The nearly 10 km road has close to 50 culverts.
Extra culverts needed
The engineer says the Palupõhja road trouble is the Laeva River bridge, nearby. The bridge being too small, not letting high water pass fast enough. Hence the floods.
«The basic road structure is in place, everywhere. In two-three sections, part of the surface has been washed off,» stated Tõnu Torim. «We need to tackle this thing again, in earnest, so the water won’t flood the road.» For that, five-six extra culverts are needed at the front end of the road.
When will SFMC tackle the task? Yesterday, it was too early to tell.