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Clearing the way for Highway 97 landslide repairs north of Quesnel

Cottonwood Hill is the scene of logging and brushing now, but soon roadwork

Logging and brushing activity is underway alongside Highway 97 just north of the Cottonwood Bridge. The wide cleanup of woody debris is this spring’s first step in the ongoing effort to stabilize the landslides of the area.

“Crews are onsite this month to clear trees, in advance of the start of the next phase of project construction later this year,” said a spokesperson with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This tree-clearing work, some of which is taking place near Highway 97, is expected to be complete by the end of March.”

Motorists can expect some delays on the route, cautionary traffic measures are already in place, but the highway is slated to remain open throughout the brushing activity.

“This work follows the installation of four groynes, which redirect flows away from the slide area, along the eastern bank of the Cottonwood River last fall,” said the ministry spokesperson.

A groyne is a construction feature that disrupts natural water flow and channels it where you want it to go in a controlled manner.

This work is part of a menu of projects encompassed by the Cariboo Road Recovery Project, in response to landslides made worse in the past four years in particular by environmental conditions attributed to climate change. The road and bridge renovations must therefore be able to withstand these new extremes.

“The project, located along a stretch of the Cottonwood River approximately 15 kilometres north of Quesnel, is being designed with a focus on resilience to changing weather patterns to improve the safety, stability and reliability of the road for the long term,” said the project leaders in a written statement.

A long period of concentrated construction is about to start, at the site. The goals for spring 2024 are largely to prepare for that, with heavier work to start in summer and carry on for a significant period of time. The entire project should be finished by the end of 2026.

READ MORE: Landslides near Quesnel getting pushback from MOTI

READ MORE: Quesnel can’t let this slide: logging partly to blame for landscape threat

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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