The rebuilding and realigning of a flood-damaged portion of West Fraser Road south of Quesnel is more than half complete.
Construction work on the new two-lane road, which will provide a safer and more reliable route for people by bypassing active slide areas, continues on schedule, said B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI).
A MoTI spokesperson told the Quesnel Cariboo Observer the project is approximately 60 per cent done with an anticipated completion date in fall 2023.
“No major delays were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or last year’s extreme weather events,” they said.
Construction on the $103.4 million project began last spring, with the contractor working through the winter blasting rock material, producing riprap material (large rock pieces) at the Hardrock Quarry and placing riprap to protect the banks of Narcosli Creek.
The contractor was also able to work on the bridge for most of the winter.
“As the weather warms up, the contractor will be able to start excavating and placing soils in addition to rock blasting,” the spokesperson said.
A tender to create a new route and bridge was issued in December 2020, more than two years after spring flooding washed-out five sections of West Fraser Road.
Of the 46 employees usually involved in construction, 17 are Indigenous and seven are women.
Once complete, the 5.6 kilometres of two-lane road on the east side of Narcosli Creek, along with a new bridge crossing, will reduce travel time by eliminating the current 17-kilometre detour through Garner and Webster roads.
Depending on conditions, the ministry estimates the two-lane gravel road adds between 20 and 45 minutes in travel time for a one-way trip.
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