Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mudslides cleared in troubled areas

The highway has been reopened between Terrace and Prince Rupert as work crews made quick work of the twin debris fields that cased troubles on Monday evening.

By Tuesday afternoon the road had been re-opened, after slides just past Rainbow summit and Salvus were taken care of by highway crews.

The areas, frequent locations for these types of events, with the heavy rainfall of Monday providing the required fuel for the slides which struck the two areas.

The Daily News had some details of the slides prior to the reopening of the highway, outlining the areas and the background of the events of Monday.

Slide closes Highway 16
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Pages one and two

For the second time in as many weeks, Highway 16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert is closed.

This time around, two mud slides forced the closure. Last week, it was avalanche control 50 km west of Terrace at the spot known as "35 Mile" that caused the closure.

"That area is a frequent avalanche performer," said Don Ramsay, district manager of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the area around "35 Mile."

Late Monday afternoon, a mudslide came down 70 km west of Terrace, the Rupert side of the Kasiks River.

"It covered both lanes of the highway and the tracks. It was a debris flow _ not an avalanche - there was lots of mud, rocks and vegetative debris," said Ramsay.

A second mudslide took place near Agate Creek, where the two highway maintenance companies' areas Nechacko and O'Brien - meet about 90 km west of Terrace.

It was slightly smaller than the first one.

Ramsay said this morning the ministry was waiting for a report from helicopters that were supposed to dispatch at first light to see if it is safe for crews to go in and start clearing the roads.

"Early evidence is we'll be able to clear it quickly," Ramsay said.

Both mudslides were triggered by the heavy rainfalls the area has experienced during the past few days.

"The rains have supersaturated any ground supporting vegetation. It's a veneer setting on the rock," Ramsay explained.

By press time, the highway remains closed in both directions from Rainbow Pass to 17 krn west of Shames Ski Hill Road.

No comments: