Ditch Road re-opens after mine breach

The Horsefly-Likely Forest Service Road (Ditch Road) has been re-opened.

The Horsefly-Likely Forest Service Road (Ditch Road) has been re-opened after being closed following the Mount Polley Mine tailings impoundment breach last August.

“The presence of heavy industrial equipment working in the area to reclaim the breach and Hazeltine Creek made it necessary to close the road,” the Ministry of Forests said in a press release.

However, a future closure is tentatively set from August to September 2015 to accommodate road re-construction and bridge installation at Hazeltine Creek.

The ministry said it is working with the mine to determine the final location of any bridges crossing Hazeltine Creek.

After hearing the road had re-opened, Claudine Kadonaga and her husband Randy decided to see the road for themselves Monday so they could answer any questions.

They own the Likely Lodge and having the road re-open is huge for tourism, Kadonaga said Tuesday.

Describing the Ditch Road as dusty, she said Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel River are running clear.

They met three other vehicles on the road, which Kadonaga suspected were people wanting to go and see Hazeltine Creek for themselves as well.

“It does give you a really good view up the canyon and down toward Hazeltine from the Ditch Road,” she said.

Recreations sites at Polley Lake and Raft Creek recreation sites have also re-opened  for public use, the ministry said, noting Recreation Sites and Trails BC staff expect to be able to have the sites inspected and maintained the week of June 22.

Kadonaga said they visited both sites on Monday and thought they looked good.

“The sites weren’t damaged from the breach, just the roads were closed to them,” she said.

Likely community co-ordinator Lisa Kraus said the opening of the road will complete a circle route between Likely and Horsefly and encourage tourist to visit both  communities.

“The residents of Mitchell Bay also have easier access to visit Likely,” Kraus said.

The Horsefly-Gavin Forest Service Road (Gavin Lake Road) remains closed to the public from kilometre 12 to kilometre 22.