Over a number of years I have argued an alternate route into the Bella Coola Valley was the most sensible solution to the problems of the existing route.
Rudy Johnson of Williams Lake is sold on the original 1919 survey by provincial engineer A.L. Carruthers. Carruthers, in his day, was no slouch of an engineer. He was the engineer in charge of constructing the original Alexandria Bridge.
Rudy shares an historical connection to Carruthers having also constructed a bridge over the fast-flowing Fraser River. Visitors can still see engineer Carruthers’ handy work just north of the current Alexandria Bridge and Rudy Johnson’s Bridge is available to traffic.
It would not be surprising if Rudy, even right now, is lining up the required machinery to just go ahead and construct the Carruthers route.
Rudy had been told that building a bridge over the Fraser was impossible, but he did it anyway.
Rudy’s attitude: if it’s needed, just do it.
The Carruthers route to achieve the plateau is less than 400 metres above the foot of the hill. This compares to climbing approximately 1,200 metres over 18.5 kilometres with grades up to 18 per cent to reach the plateau on the existing route. The Carruthers route is not located in a narrow, at times fog-bound, rock-falling canyon.
According to Rudy, the plateau on the Carruthers route can be reached within less than eight kilometres, with a grade of less than five per cent.
Rudy’s vision is that such a development could ultimately open the Peace River, Prince George economic corridor to the Central Coast with access to developing Asian markets.
With less than eight kilometres of mountain to construct a new highway on, using modern machinery Rudy calculates the work could be roughed out within modest weeks with a road across the plateau taking not much longer.
In today’s world of Internet crowd funding, crowd funding could raise the required capital.
All it takes is Internet work and Rudy would, even at his age, just go ahead and construct the project.