Significant and difficult.
These are a few of the words David Rhodes, Dawson Road Maintenance quality manager for the Cariboo, used Friday morning, April 23, to describe the current situation surrounding Horsefly Road.
“There is no simple solution. It’s challenging.”
Overhead view of the washout on Horsefly Road at the Bells Lake junction. Picture taken at 5pm on Thursday. Detour via Beaver Valley Rd. 108 Mile Rd detour 4×4 only. Assessment ongoing
The road was initially closed Thursday afternoon, then reopened to single vehicle alternating traffic Thursday evening after floodwaters partially collapsed the paved highway. By 10 p.m. Thursday night, the road was closed to all traffic.
“The water soaks into the road base and it just keeps collapsing,” Rhodes said in an interview with the Tribune early Friday morning. “We had to close it. It’s just too unsafe to risk it.”
Horsefly Road is the main access to the community of Horsefly and surrounding rural areas. The closure will impact hundreds of residents.
While there is a nearby detour, the 108 Road, that road also has soft spots due to spring freshet, making it only suitable for those with 4×4 vehicles. If travelling in a car, your best, and only, bet is Beaver Valley Road to Likely Road, a 40-minute detour which also has soft sections that are only likely to increase with the extra traffic it will see as a main detour.
“It’s difficult for Horsefly residents, for the school buses,” Rhodes said, noting it is also particularly challenging for new residents to the area who may not have experience or the vehicles required for the backroads.
The regional district as well as emergency responders are aware of the situation, said Rhodes. Operations managers with Dawson and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are looking for solutions.
Rhodes said they are considering a temporary bridge over the collapsed section of Horsefly Road, however, that requires engineering. Another option is to create a short detour through the Bells Lake gravel pit, but that is currently under water as well.
Assessments in the area are ongoing.
More to come.