A GEOTECHNICAL engineer has been dispatched to examine a rock slide about 22 kilometres east of Terrace which has blocked Hwy16.
The slide took place after 9:30 pm last night, depositing material on the road, including one large boulder described as the size of the box on the back of a dump truck.
“We won’t know much more until the engineer can get in there at first light,” transportation ministry official Don Ramsay reported early this morning.
The engineer will first determine the condition of the steep slope from where the material came.
“At that point we’ll then make a determination whether it’s safe to remove the material from the road or whether other measures are called for,” said Ramsay.
Crews at the scene have estimated there’s about 50 cubic metres of material on the road.
Even if smaller material is removed from the highway and it may be possible to guide traffic around the large boulder, there still safety considerations, Ramsay added.
“The worry would not be about the boulder, it would be about the possibility of rock coming down and bouncing off that boulder on to the road,” Ramsay said.
“It’ll have to be broken up, perhaps even blasted,” he said of the boulder.
The slide is 5 kilometres east of Usk and there’s a history of rocks coming off the slope, Ramsay added.
When slides have blocked the highway on previous occasions, motorists have taken the Cranberry Connector, a narrow gravel road reached by driving north on Hwy37 North at Kitwanga.
The Connector runs east-west, linking Hwy37 North with the Nass Valley. Travellers can then turn south, taking Hwy113 to Terrace to rejoin Hwy16.