The slope edge is falling away from the Soda Creek Road in several places as it winds its way above the Williams Lake River Valley. Slow signs and orange pylons alert drivers to various spots along the road that are of concern.
Chris Schwarzmaier lives 13.5 km up the road from city limits and says he’s frustrated about the state of the road.
“There are three or four really dangerous spots, all on the downhill side. Lots of logging trucks are going out there and the traffic of the families that live out there,” he says.
There is a section where a block wall was installed along the edge of the road to help reinforce the edge and provide stabilization. However, Schwarzmaier questions the logic of the work.
Instead, he suggests, it would be better to dig into the hillside and widen the road that way.
“They built a wall, but in the wintertime it will disappear. It does not make sense to me.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirms segments of the shoulder on the road have settled over the past several years, and recent heavy rainfall has contributed to some of the shoulder failures, causing them to become over-saturated and soft, resulting in some depressions in the pavement.
Kate Trotter, speaking on behalf the ministry, says the maintenance contractor is aware of the most recent shoulder failure and will be following up to make the necessary safety repairs.
“The ministry is considering longer-term repairs; the timing will depend on the availability of funds and other district priorities,” Trotter notes.
Local log hauler Kent Bernier echoes Schwarzmaier’s concerns and says it’s a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
He owns four logging trucks and a couple of them are hauling along the Soda Creek Road regularly.
“The road has slumped away since we had all the rain in the summer, but it was bad before and is worse now. It makes it single-lane traffic so when you’re coming through there loaded it’s rough.”
If a log truck driver were to meet someone coming from the opposite direction and wanted to avoid having a head-on collision, the driver might have to pull off, Bernier warns.
“If you had speed, and you were to go down in one of those holes, if it didn’t fall over going down in there, it may just flip over when it came out right into the oncoming lane.”
The signage is terrible, Bernier says and adds the road is busy and needs to be fixed.
“There are lots of loads of logs coming out of there right now and there will be all winter.”