Ottawa says it will study ways to protect the 275-year-old dikes that connect Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada from being washed away by rising sea levels, storm surges and other effects of climate change.
The $350,000 study will look at how rising water levels could affect key infrastructure in the Chignecto Isthmus trade corridor, including the Trans-Canada Highway, the Canadian National rail line and electricity transmission lines, Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey said in a statement Monday.
The study will involve an engineering assessment of existing infrastructure, consultation and options to protect the corridor, which carries an estimated $50 million worth of trade a day between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
"Trade between our two provinces is the lifeline that keeps our economies growing and our goods moving and this is why we must do all we can to protect the Chignecto Isthmus trade corridor from climate change," Casey, the MP for Cumberland-Colchester, said in a release.
The initiative comes amid increasing calls for something to be done to maintain the land link between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by raising and reinforcing dikes at the narrow isthmus that joins the provinces and allow goods to travel to and from the busy port of Halifax.
The dikes in the Tantramar Marshes were built by Acadian settlers for agricultural purposes in the 1700s. The Chignecto Isthmus was cut off for several days in an 1869 storm, according to a 2008 study by Memorial University geologist Norm Catto.
The study said the odds of a recurrence would increase as sea levels rise.