FORT ST JOHN, BC – There are currently 20 active slides in the North Peace Region but nine, in particular, are causing concern, according to the North Peace Rural Roads Coalition.
These slides, located between the Alaska Highway and the bridge at KM 53.3 of Upper Halfway Road, are worrisome as this section of road serves over 1000 residents and is the only public road out of the area with few escape routes in the event of an emergency.
Jackie Kjos, a consultant with the coalition, says when it comes to slides in this region there are no easy answers.
“There are so many bad slides. The amount of work it takes for the ministry to get prepared is a long term process. I think it’s challenging for the ministry to decide which slides to concentrate on,” says Kjos.
Despite there being multiple slides, the Upper Halfway Road was held at 100% of legal axle loading last spring.
The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) says they are aware of the slides along the Upper Halfway Road corridor.
“The road is safe for travelers as the slides are very slow moving. Ministry geotechnical engineers regularly monitor for movement and provide recommendations for any mitigative works.” says the Ministry.
Kjos says there are precautions residents in the area can take if the situation worsens.
“The first sign of activity a slide are rocks on the road. If there’s dirt or something has come down on the side, that should be reported to Dawson road maintenance right away.”
“If there’s concern of imminent threats, if it appears, that the bottom is falling out or the bottom sides are down the hill, or if there’s something that’s an emergency, it does not hurt to call the ministry as well and tell them that slide is on the move again.” Kjos continued.
Anyone with questions or concerns regarding landslides in the North Peace are encouraged to contact the local MoTI office at 250-787-3237.