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Landslides near Quesnel getting pushback from MOTI

Stabilization project seeks long-term solution for Highway 97
Major highway repairs are happening on Cottonwood Hill north of Quesnel to stabilize landslides that have damaged the roadway over the years. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Stability is finally coming to the constantly shifting underbed of Highway 97 north of the Cottonwood Bridge.

That’s at least the hope for that stretch of highway just a few minutes outside of Quesnel on the way to Prince George. It has been sloughing for years, especially since 2020, doing expensive damage to the pavement and causing motorists to adjust to the undulations of the surface. The cause is overall land instability, a characteristic in other parts of the Cariboo, as well.

The provincial government has been chipping away at road projects aimed at fixing the warped driving lanes. Work is now underway on this patch of problem highway.

Up until now, said a spokesperson from the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI), the “project team has been working to determine a safe and climate-resilient solution.” The pre-construction work included the development of best options, environmental reviews and on-site inspections, improving drainage and modifying slopes.

But recently the heavy lifting began, and motorists will be passing through an active work zone about 15 kilometres north of the city.

“Since the beginning of September, MOTI contractors have been working to install groynes along the Cottonwood River adjacent to Highway 97 as a part of Phase 1 of the project,” the ministry contact said. “The groynes are built with large rock material and redirect river flows away from the slide area.”

The MOTI contact said “Phase 1 work is almost complete; additional work is anticipated to start next year.”

The ministry also relayed that “Notification of project-related fieldwork or construction and potential impacts to travellers of this section of Highway 97 will be posted on the project webpage in advance,” although presumably few motorists would think to look there. DriveBC has the most timely data.

For those following the progress of this slide remediation project, a link to the MOTI website for the Cottonwood Hill repairs is available on The Observer’s online version of this story. CLICK RIGHT HERE to see it.

READ MORE: Stabilizing two Quesnel-area road sites

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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