One of the most epic potholes in Quesnel history has now been filled in.
The West Fraser Road washout of 2018 was a massive and complicated road destruction event, but regular traffic flow has finally been restored. The reopening was even slightly ahead of the previous estimation, with provincial government figuring it would be fall of 2023 before they could call it an accomplishment.
“The work done to move West Fraser Road restores direct access to Quesnel and provides a reliable route for people who live and work in the area,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Thank you to the workers who completed this project in a technically challenging area. Their hard work supports safe transportation for residents now that the route is much less likely to flood or be washed out.”
Chief Troy Baptiste of the ʔEsdilagh First Nation, said “It has been five years since the West Fraser Road washed out. We are grateful that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recognized the significance of this road to the ʔEsdilagh First Nation and the local residents, and had devoted extensive work to restore the road. For the safety of our people, we are happy to have the road reopened. This has been such an important project that we are proud to have been a part of. We are planning for a traditional ceremony once all the final work is completed.”
Along with a new two-lane bridge over Narcosli Creek, the newly opened 5.6-kilometre section bypasses the active slide areas along the old section of West Fraser Road that washed out in 2018. The new section is a two-lane paved road on the east side of Narcosli Creek, improving safety and reducing travel time by eliminating the 17-kilometre detour route that had been in place since the washout.
In April 2018, high water from the spring freshet caused Narcosli Creek to erode five sections of West Fraser Road on the west side of the Fraser River, approximately 17 kilometres south of Quesnel. The damage was severe, spread over three kilometres, and the road had to be closed.
Final work on the project will continue alongside the road this fall and winter. The finishing touches on the project will not affect the travelling public and will include hydroseeding, planting, fencing, removal of the damaged bridge on the old alignment and decommissioning part of the old road.