There is now a proposed solution to the huge washout on West Fraser Road in the North Cariboo.
Todd Hubner, the District Transportation Manager in Quesnel, delivered the good news to more than 125 residents at an open house at the West Fraser Centre on Wednesday.
Here he describes the preferred route…
“It would basically take off on the south end of the West Fraser Road up near where the seal coat currently ends and would stay overland, east of the existing failed alignment on the plateau, up on the ridge for about 3 kilometers, or a little more than 3 kilometers. It would then traverse down the valley and then there would be a new bridge crossing Neighbour Creek, and then it would join up with the existing West Fraser Road.”
Hubner says that was out of 10 possible routes.
He says most people at the open house seemed to like that one as well.
Hubner says the existing route was also considered, but was quickly ruled out…
“Our engineers have told us that that area is so unstable that not only would they not recommend us constructing a long term route through that slide mass for fear of future failure, but they’re not convinced that we could even go in there and construct something and keep workers safe. There is a reported estimated that about 27 million cubic meters of slide debris that would have to be somehow stablized, with no certainty of success.”
Hubner says the new alignment, which is about 4.8 kilometers, would cost an estimated 71 million dollars.
Hubner says the next step is trying to get that money…
“Our next steps are to apply to the Federal Government under the Disaster Financial Assistance program for funding consideration from them. We have been told that it is eligible, and we have had some preliminary discussions that have been positive but we do have to still make an application, so we will wait for the rsults of that.”
Hubner says that does not preclude the Ministry from still doing additional work on the premise that they will get funding approval.
He says if all goes well they could put the project out for tender late this year.
Construction is expected to take about two years.