Dawson Road Maintenance crews work on Spout Lake Road in the South Cariboo as work continues to respond to flooding damage from the 2020 freshet in the Cariboo District. (Dawson Road Maintenance photo)

Cariboo flood-damaged road repairs surpass $12 million

A total of 229 sites were impacted

Eight weeks into repairs of flood damaged roads from the Cariboo region’s 2020 freshet have cost more than $12 million to date.

A total of 229 sites in the Cariboo transportation district were impacted, said Todd Hubner, Cariboo area manager with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Friday.

He confirmed so far they have not seen any new damage sites in the last two weeks and the water levels are receding significantly.

“We’ve really evolved from the response aspect of the event to what we call the recovery,” he explained.

In the response phase, the focus is ensuring access is gained for residents and commercial entities, and involves installing culverts, bridges, and emergency routes.

Recovery is about long-term fixes, and will involve planning to make sure the infrastructure is viable.

The high elevation melt is not over yet, however, Hubner said the B.C. River Forecast Centre is indicating that all the local roads should not be impacted by it.

It is helpful that it hasn’t been very warm yet.

“One of my staff was actually saying in the Highway 26 area at Barkerville they had snow earlier this week.”

There are still a few areas shut down, including part of the Quesnel Hydraulic Road and at the 13 kilometre mark of the Knife Creek Road, where some emergency bridging might be put in.

Across the district there are still about 60 pieces of equipment working in the 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Williams Lake areas.

Gravelling of side roads by Dawson Road Maintenance Ltd. is underway, which is usually part of the summer program.

“We had planned on delivering the gravelling program in advance of freshet,” Hubner said.

Read more: Gravelling of Cariboo sideroads underway

As for the bump on Highway 20 in Williams Lake, it had some temporary repairs done two weeks ago by Dawson.

They milled off the sharp edges to make it smooth and passable, but it still needs more repair work.

Hubner said Dawson will be going back once the company’s paving plant at 122 Mile House is up and running.

It will be milled off and re-profiled and then resurfaced.

There is still a couple of years of work to do in the Cariboo district resulting from flooding damage on roads, Hubner noted.

“The next step is to do some hydraulic analysis to determine whether the crossings we have installed short-term will meet the long term objectives of projected flows.”

Additionally the ministry has to meet environmental requirements for all fish-bearing streams to ensure all crossings protect fish habitat. A project team will investigate whether to install oversized culverts with a gravelled bottom or bridges when looking at restoring crossings permanently.

Within the Cariboo transportation district there are more than 15,000 lane kilometres.

Read more: Forest Practices Board investigates Woodjam watershed for sediment in streams

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