West Fraser Road Flood Recovery
In April 2018, high water levels from the spring freshet caused Narcosli Creek to erode five sections of the West Fraser Road, on the west side of the Fraser River, approximately 17 km south of Quesnel.
The damage was severe and the road had to be closed with damage spread over a three kilometer section as follows:
- At the north end of the 3 km section, 250 metres of road embankment washed out
- Near the north end of the 3 km section, 100 metres of road embankment washed out
- North of the Narcosli Bridge, a 100 metre section of road is washed out
- At the Narcosli Bridge, the north side road embankment and rip-rap was washed out and eliminated the road and bridge connection.
- At the switchback at Deep Creek Hill, the road embankment washed out for a length of 100 metres and another section of road embankment has slid and/or collapsed.
About 200 vehicles per day normally use West Fraser Road, which accesses First Nation communities, ranches, logging activities, farming lands and local residences. A detour route is in place via Garner Road and Webster Lake Road, which is a two-lane gravel road that adds 17 km in distance and approximately 20 minutes in travel time for a one-way trip.
The ministry invested over $1 million in 2018 to keep the detour route in safe operating condition. Work included:
- Applying crushed gravel on a significant portion of the detour route to improve the driving surface
- Applying a calcium chloride base to the 39 km gravel portion of the detour route to reduce dust
- Repairing the road base at several soft sections of the route
- Removing roadside vegetation to increase sight lines
- Ditching along the entire detour route
- Installing cross culverts to improve drainage
- Adding signs (e.g. - cattle guard, speed limit, Share the Road, etc.)
- Replacing and improving cattleguards
The posted speed limit was decreased to 70 km/hour on Garner Road and 60 km/hour on Webster Road. Regular CVSE patrols and inspections are being carried out on commercial vehicles to ensure continued safety.
The ministry is evaluating information from recently-completed geotechnical, hydrological, environmental and archaeological assessments, as it investigates options to re-establish regular service. Geotechnical investigations of the Narcosli Creek area continue in order to determine the ground conditions and assess soil stability and constructability for various proposed alignments. In addition, the ministry has reached out to Public Safety Canada to discuss potential federal funding opportunities for the project and will be submitting a business case for cost-share funding consideration.
The ministry recognizes the impact this closure is having on users of West Fraser Road and continues to work towards the earliest possible solution.