Barriers across Quesnel-Hydraulic Road have been installed since spring 2020. The road has been closed due to a major landslide. (Quesnel Observer file photo)

Barriers across Quesnel-Hydraulic Road have been installed since spring 2020. The road has been closed due to a major landslide. (Quesnel Observer file photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gravelle Ferry residents call for MOTI to fix Hydraulic Road

Residents call road situation a “fiasco”

Editor:

Local road users in the Quesnel area have been forced to deal with difficulties due to poor decisions of civil servants.

Look at the Quesnel Hydraulic road fiasco.

In April of 2020 the Quesnel Hydraulic road had water pooling on it, we feel, due to the lack of maintenance on the ministry’s part.

This is a historic slide area. It failed in 1985, 35 years ago, and was opened up by Gravelle Ferry residents. This latest failure is from lack of water containment due to neglected drainage above the road.

The road culverts were plugged, water then pooled and ran across the road eventually going under the road beside the plugged culverts. The over-saturation of the slope above the road was caused by the lack of water management. This caused mud and debris to collapse onto the road surface from above, closing the Quesnel Hydraulic Road. The road bed was still intact.

Instead of getting crews on site to contain the water and clear the road surface the same program took place as on West Fraser Road.

Geo-Tech engineers drafted illustrious reports saying it would take the removal of three million cu/meters or 300,000 dump truck loads of material to reopen the road. The cost would be 10s of millions.

How do they come up with these numbers? We simply need a viable year-round road to town as we had in the past, not an entire mountain moved.

Bridge Hill (Bastin Hill) also slid in last April land-locking Gravelle Ferry residents as French Road at that time was impassable due to three feet of snow.

In the matter of a couple days Bridge Hill was cleared off so that valley residents were no longer trapped and could use the 2700-500 road as access to Quesnel.

MOTI staff told us that they would upgrade French Road as a safe route to town.

Ranchers in the valley stated that French Road was not viable as a year round access road. We depend on a road to transport both livestock and feed. Last fall an attempt was made to haul two liner loads of calves over French Road.

Three cattle liners and a pilot car were tied up for 12 hours to do a job that previously could have been done in three hours with two cattle liners. Since then, commercial livestock haulers have declined to haul anything over that route.

Hauling livestock is different than logs or hay – you are dealing with live animals.

Last fall our local MOTI shared a statement provided by the owner of a Kamloops trucking company that French Road was a viable route for cattle liners. What MOTI failed to clarify in King Transport’s statement was that King Transport does not own a cattle liner. How valid does that make their opinion?

There are elderly people living at Gravelle Ferry. In the event of a medical emergency will French Road be passable for an ambulance this spring?

Also, there are also elementary school children who have to be driven 45 minutes to the bus stop each morning on the other side of French Mountain and picked up there in the afternoon as well.

Their day begins before 6 a.m. and they do not return home until 5 p.m. each day. Their mother was told that she should just move closer to the school. What does she do with her ranch and livestock?

Taxpayers have probably invested close to $4 million (the figure was $2.3 million in early September and work carried on in to December) on a non-viable road that is soon to become impassable.

Last fall’s road building on French Road saw mud and snow layered on top of a mud base and froze in. When this thaws French Road will not be drivable.

The on-site contractors and job supervisors realized that this frozen winter road was going to be a problem. Ministry personnel listened to no one, turned a blind eye and carried on.

Local road contractors have looked at the Quesnel Hydraulic Road slide and said that getting it fixed is just a matter of managing the water and moving the dirt.

Where’s the accountability of civil servants who seem to be good at spending excessive amounts of money on non-viable projects. Their lack of common sense creates undue hardships for those parties affected.

To reopen the Quesnel Hydraulic Road slide would have cost far less that the $4 million spent on French Road.

Soon the residents of Gravelle Ferry will be in the exact same position we were last spring – without a road.

Gravelle Ferry Residents

Mike & Lindy Gilson, Wilf & Lisa Larsen, Bernie & Sharon McKinnon, Lindsey & Will Bohme, Dick & Dianne Erdman, Ken & Ginger Cameron, Melissa Sword, Don & Diane Tibbles, Les & Shirley Gardner, Martin & Mary Rossman, Milt & Bo Larsen, Glen & Lori Bohme, Neil McKinnon & Mary Mussell, Mark Rupp & Teri Smith, Dave Thompson, Brad & Lori Bowden, Ashley Sword, Heidi Symons & Simon Zeegers

Letter to the editor: Quesnel Cattlemen’s Association raise concerns over West Fraser Road detour

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email a letter to the editor to: editor@quesnelobserver.com



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