VIDEO: MOTI ‘triaging’ more than 100 road washouts in Cariboo region due to recent flooding

Ron McCormack, director of operations and CVSE manager MOTI (centre) discusses options for providing temporary access to residents cut off by the washout on Huston Road in the 150 Mile House area with Rob Kielman (left) and Skyler McCarthy of Dawson Road Maintenance Thursday afternoon.
A contractor works at Huston Road in the 150 Mile House area Thursday. (Monica Lamb-Yorski - Williams Lake Tribune photo)
A home next to Borland Creek on Pigeon Road in 150 Mile House has been totally impacted by the flooding. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Borland Creek seen here where it should flow has also diverted itself in many other directions this week resulting in flooding and washouts in the 150 Mile House and Sugar Cane areas. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

There are more than 100 flood damaged sites in the region, said Ministry of Transportation’s Cariboo District manager Todd Hubner Thursday.

“There are too many to get into the details, but we are triaging these sites as quick as we can to determine what the purpose of the road is,” he told the Tribune. “Does it serve a residence? Is it servicing a resource road? Are there people potentially trapped behind it?”

For every location ministry and contractors address, another one pops up somewhere else, he said.

“We are hoping we are going to be able to catch our breath here before the high elevation melt comes. Everything over the Cariboo Mountains and what not has yet to melt. That’s a couple of weeks out we expect.”

Patience and understanding is what the ministry has seen from local residents, he added.

“We’re working collectively with local governments and our contractors are endeavouring to address as many locations as they can and as timely a fashion as they can.”

Local contractors have really stepped up to help, he said, noting that has been ‘really nice to see.’

In the 150 Mile House area, a temporary road was put in place to provide access to people who are cut off by road washouts.

The road opened up on Wednesday afternoon and traffic is flowing through led by a pilot car.

Read more: Temporary road in place for 150 Mile House residents impacted by flooding

“We’ve got temporary access to people in the 150 Mile House area, but we recognize that’s a short-term measure. Ideally we want to get traffic back onto the public road system as quickly as we can.”

Earlier Thursday a temporary bridge was also installed over a small creek just off Highway 97 on Mission Road near the Onward Ranch.

“That creek is not part of the Borland Creek or San Jose River system,” Hubner said. “Even those small creeks are running bank full, if not over that.”

From what he’s heard the water flow has not decreased anywhere Thursday.

“The flow is just as great if not greater than yesterday.”

When it comes to making decisions to put in a new culvert or install a temporary bridge, it comes down to the ease of installation over fast moving waters.

Hubner’s been with the ministry for 36 years and in the Cariboo region for 20 and said so far 2020 has been unprecedented for flooding.

“We’re hearing from locals like 150 Mile Fire Chief Stan McCarthy who hasn’t seen anything like this in 50 years.”

Looking back just a week, none of the sites existed.

“We’ve had a very significant flash melt.”

Hubner’s area of management extends from Spences Bridge to the Red Rock weigh scales, 30 km south of Prince George.

Earlier Thursday Drive BC reactivated an additional tab to update side-road information daily.

The Cariboo Regional District confirmed Thursday the evacuation alert issued for the Borland Valley area Wednesday evening remains in effect.

Read more: Drive BC reacts to flooding with additional side-road closure updates

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