Slide closes highway

Highway 20, 84 kilometes east of Bella Coola, is closed in both directions following a second slide on Friday.

  • Jul. 19, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Highway 20, 84 kilometes east of Bella Coola, is closed in both directions following a second slide on Friday.

The slide, 500 metres east of the one earlier in the week, occurred at 6:30 p.m. and brought down roughly 1,000 cubic metres of material.

For the safety of crews working at the site, engineers have recommended that clean up only be undertaken during daylight hours.

According to Drive BC, the highway’s estimated opening time is 8 p.m. July 19; however, a “low-confidence level” is indicated with that timing.

Todd Hubner, Cariboo district manager for transportation and infrastructure, says the low confidence reflects the surety in crews ability to clean up the debris in such a tight area by that time, as well as the fact that some of the slide material is large in size and requires drilling and blasting.

“From what we see on the surface some will require drilling and blasting but because this slide has some depth to it we’re not sure what is within the slide mass itself,” he said.

Hubner added there was no clear cause for either slide although he said there had been a lot of precipitation in the area over the last couple of weeks.

The ministry was aware of the urgency to clear the road because it’s the height of tourist season and the Bella Coola Valley Music Festival is around the corner.

“So it’s important we get things re-established.”

No one was injured in the slide and stranded visitors were being supported by the Central Coast Regional District’s emergency services program.



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