Crews continue to work on Mission Road at the Borland Creek bridge which has been impacted this spring by flooding. (Williams Lake Indian Band photo)

Road repair work ongoing in Cariboo Chilcotin First Nations communities impacted by flooding

Unprecedented flooding created havoc in many areas

A partially closed road at the Williams Lake Indian Band’s (WLIB) community of Sugar Cane is anticipated to reopen late this week.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it continues to closely monitor water levels throughout the Cariboo to ensure all provincial roadways remain safe to travel.

“Currently, there are nine-low volume side roads throughout the Cariboo that are closed due to flooding,” a Ministry spokesperson said on May 22. “At this time, alternate routes for impacted travellers are available.”

Work underway on Mission Road includes repairs to a bridge wingwall structure, embankment, and channel reconstruction, fish salvage, stream diversion and culvert installation.

WLIB was one of many First Nations communities impacted by flooding this year.

A bridge crossing was installed at the Canim Lake Band’s Tsq’Escen Road which the Ministry said has helped accelerate draining of flood waters.

After the water recedes a hydrological assessment will be undertaken to guide in determining the next steps.

The road is open to local traffic only at this time.

Combined, the costs to date to remediate Mission Road and Tsq’Escen Road exceed $100,000.

Read More: Williams Lake river valley remains closed to public, flooding repairs continue

“As these projects were the result of an emergent event, none had a significantly long-term planning component from an engineering perspective. Much of the response works are associated with field designs with the goal to restore access as quickly as possible,” the Ministry spokesperson said.

“With these designs we are endeavouring to take into account: local ground conditions, working in and around flood waters, the environment, weather conditions, resources available, ecetera.”

The Ministry and its maintenance contractors have 87 pieces of heavy equipment working to repair impacted sites throughout the Cariboo.

“The positive thing is everybody is collaborating and is at the table,” said WLIB Chief Willie Sellars. “The work is slowly but surely getting done. The amount of cleanup that is there is a lot and it’s going to take weeks if not months to eventually clean this thing up but I’m hopeful that we’re going to get that done before the end of the year.”

He said he believes a number of factors are contributing to the amount of flooding seen this year such as global warming, the wildfires of 2017 which had depleted the landscape of natural vegetation and the weather.

“The response that we’re starting to see across the board in responding to disasters like this, I think we’re getting better.”

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