MLA Coralee Oakes addressed the washout of the West Fraser Road at the Cariboo Regional District’s meeting in Williams Lake today (July 13).
One of the more dramatic changes to infrastructure from this spring’s floods was the damage to the road, where 150 metres of pavement near Roddie Road was carried away by powerful currents. The road has been closed since the washout, with residents beyond the washout point having to take a long detour via gravel roads.
While the incident occurred at the end of April, engineering firms are still working out the best plan of attack to get the travel corridor back in action.
Progress is slow for a reason.
“There are three particular areas of the slide that they are worried about staff going into,” MLA Oakes says.
“There has been some reluctance to get engineers in there because it’s still unstable.”
The Ministry of Transportation is hoping to post its findings on its website at the end of July, so people can see the extent of the damage and understand the complexities of the task ahead.
MLA Oakes says they will come forward with three potential options to show residents by fall.
She says they might keep the West Fraser route that currently exists and perform a realignment into the rock, which might be more stable, or there is a possibility that they will explore a whole new route.
Right now, Oakes says they are struggling because of the sensitivity of the creek and there are concerns with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans too.
She stresses a solution is needed, as the current forest service road detour is not a long-term solution.
“It’s not a paved highway and there’s wear and tear on vehicles and [extra gas costs],” she says.
She adds 20 children who depend on the road to attend elementary school have to get on buses at 6:30 a.m., as the detour takes much longer.
“As we head into the new school year, you’ve got children [who spend] over two hours on school buses on a forest services road, so there’s a lot of concerns about safety,” she says.
“It’s a forest service road, so what kind of condition is it going to be kept in come fall?”
READ MORE: West Fraser Road washed out near Roddie Road