A local state of emergency is a possibility as Wells deals with three issues along the Barkerville Highway.
Mayor Ed Coleman said that would only happen if Highway 26 were to shut down for more than 10 hours, and he says they have an emergency exit route mapped out with the province and the RCMP.
“It’s also at Beaver Pass. Fortunately, it’s on the right side of where the problem is. It’s called the 24-hundred Road, 1,000 Road and 700 Road. It’s about an hours drive, it’s been graded, and it comes out by Dunkley Lumber.”
Coleman added he would only recommend that route for vehicles with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but he says they would also have a shuttle concept in place.
He mentioned other smaller communities have also used helicopters in the past and he says they have the Barkerville Airport for that.
As for the three areas of concern along Highway 26, Coleman says the washout at Beaver Pass got worse.
“What we’ve done here is we have a bridge there on standby, we did unplug the culvert. Half the road is out so there is 24-hour flagging on single-lane traffic. That one there is deciding whether they will put the bridge in or not, or do it a different way.”
Coleman said there was also a slide on the west side of Jack Of Clubs Lake.
“That blocked a little bit more than half the road, so they dealt with that. It was I think about 35 loads and they rip-rapped the side of it, so it’s stabilized.”
Finally, he says they have trouble at the Wells Bridge with erosion on the bridge on the Willow River, as well as their sewer line crossing.
“We got permission to riprap our sewer line crossing to protect it, and then we’ve had engineers assess that area. We think it’s about a half million dollar problem which we will have to outreach to the province on, but it’s all in the Ministry of Transportation right of way, so that’s helpful.”
Coleman said they continue to monitor other areas along the highway as well.
– with files from George Henderson, My Cariboo Now staff