Margo Wagner, the Cariboo Regional District Area H Director, says there is flooding from kilometre 5 to about a hundred feet up the road.
“The problem this time is that the water came down with such force that it brought a lot of gravel and stuff down with it, so the culvert is actually plugged. So of course when that happens the water has got nowhere to go except over the road. And that’s what’s happened, along with a lot of gravel and silt, and there’s a lot of erosion that’s gone on on both sides of the shoulder of Canim South where the culvert is.”
Wagner says a geotechnical engineer is expected to come in and assess the damage, but not until the water has subsided a bit.
“I was there yesterday (Sunday) talking to the Ministry of Transportation staff, and they can’t do any work on that until the water flow has decreased because there is already a tremendous amount of damage done to the property on the lakeside. Everything has gone across the road and then there is a big area of washout, so a lot of silt and gravel and rocks have gone down onto this lady’s property.”
She says if they start messing around with that culvert and road when the water is really flowing, even more will end up on her property, plus she says the road isn’t safe.
“Until they (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) determine the safety of the culvert and the road itself, they’re not going to let any traffic go over it even when the water isn’t quite flowing because right now you just slide on it. It’s mud and rocks and water flying over the top of the road.”
Wagner says there is a detour available on Mahood Lake Road, although she acknowledges that it adds quite a bit to people’s trips.
“At least an hour and 15 minutes, maybe more, an hour and a half. It’s the road that’s open all winter but it’s not a really well maintained road. It’s not paved, it’s a high mountain road. The Ministry of Transportation is currently replacing a culvert at kilometre 16 on Mahood Lake Road because they’re worried that one is going to blow out.”
Wagner says the roadblocks are manned 24-7 and she is asking motorists to please be patient.
As for why this is happening, Wagner says they have had two big forest fires in the area recently and those trees are no longer there to suck up some of the water.