Highway officials surprised by slipping road

HIGHWAYS OFFICIALS were hoping last week they’d still be able to get a layer of asphalt down on a major road repair project on Hwy113.

  • Nov. 20, 2011 7:00 p.m.

HIGHWAYS OFFICIALS were hoping last week they’d still be able to get a layer of asphalt down on a major road repair project on Hwy113 south of the turnoff to the Terrace landfill.

Approximately one lane’s width of road began sliding down a steep embankment this fall, requiring a significant amount of work to repair.

Acting transportation ministry operations manager Nathan Voogd said the road bed failure was completely unexpected.

“It was a surprise. We had just finished work on a similar situation on Halliwell,” said Voogd of a project to stabilize a section of road where Halliwell intersects with Hwy113.

He said engineers weren’t quite sure what caused the bed to fall away, although there were signs that accumulated moisture may have caused some instability.

“We had to get right at the base [of the road],” Voogd said of repairs. “That meant building a road down to the base and digging out all of the mucky material below ground level.”

Crews replaced the sodden material with quarry rock to provide a firm base and put in filter cloth to hold the new material together.

“Probably it ended up four metres wide,” said Voogd off the new foundation that was installed.

Costs are estimated at approximately $85,000 and while area road contractor Nechako Northcoast is responsible for regular maintenance and repairs, a project of this type is covered by a transportation ministry emergency work program.

“This is something above and beyond regular maintenance,” Voogd said of the project.