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Rising Saint John River frustrating swath of southern New Brunswick

No parking signs are submerged in water of the Saint John River in the Carleton Park in Fredericton on Monday, April 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

FREDERICTON — Rising waters have reduced the Trans-Canada Highway to a single lane outside Fredericton, as New Brunswick officials warn residents of flood-prone areas to get out while they can.

The provincial government says its offices in downtown Fredericton are open for essential services only, as flood levels in the capital are back at last year’s levels.

It says civil servants who are personally affected by the floods and “need to tend to their obligations” were not required to come to work.

Many streets and parking lots in Fredericton remain under water, while the swollen Saint John River is also causing flooding in the southern parts of the province.

MRDC, the private company that maintains a stretch of the Trans-Canada, says high water levels have shrunk the highway near Jemseg, N.B.., and is warning motorists to “proceed with caution.”

On Tuesday, Greg MacCallum, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, urged people living in areas that are typically cut off due to flooding to “act now to relocate.”

EMO warned motorists to avoid any roads covered by water, saying they are a serious safety risk.

“Water may be deeper than it appears and may conceal sinkholes or other damage and debris,” it warned Wednesday.

Residents were advised to remain on high alert in areas in and around Clair-Fort Kent, Saint-Hilaire, Edmundston, Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Sheffield-Lakeville Corner, Oak Point and Quispamsis-Saint John.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure reported 59 road closures across the province on Tuesday.

About 200 soldiers from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown have been deployed to provide assistance to residents who need it, while sandbag stations have been set up across the province.

Late Monday, residents in parts of Saint John were given voluntary evacuation notice.

The Saint John Emergency Measures Organization said water levels could reach 5.3 metres by Friday, and flooding and road closures could isolate some homes for five days or more.

The Canadian Press