MAY 6, UPDATE 3: Westside Road to re-open at 5 p.m.
This story is being updated in reverse chronological order:
May 6, 3:30 p.m.
According to the department of Public Works, Westside Road will re-open to single-lane traffic only at 5 p.m. Friday, May 6.
May 6, 2:00 p.m.
City crews continue working on removing debris from Westside Road. The latest city update states there is "high confidence that the road will be open at 4 p.m. today to Commercial Vehicles only."
May 6, 10:45 a.m.
City crews are now working to remove the debris from the road. A city media release says there is now "moderate confidence" the road will be open at 3 p.m. today for commercial traffic only.
The next update from the city is scheduled for 1 p.m.
May 5, 3:30 p.m.
The City of Revelstoke is now expressing "moderate confidence" that Westside Road will re-open later in the afternoon on May 6, but for commercial traffic only. "Crews have stabilized the slope above the slide and are now working on clearing the debris from Westside road," said a statement from the city.
The next update will be provided on Friday, May 6 at 10 a.m.
May 5, 2 p.m.
The City of Revelstoke says crews have been able to clear the culvert above the slide and relieve some of the pressure above the slide. The news came in an update provided at 1:38 p.m.
"Crews are still working to stabilize the situation above the road once that has been done they will be able to concentrate on clearing the debris from the road below," they said in a statement.
The city will provide another update at 3 p.m. today
May 5, 10 a.m.
Westside Road remains closed May 5 due to a May 2 landslide. The City of Revelstoke issued the following statement just before 10 a.m. on May 5: "At this time Westside Road remains closed indefinitely due to the unstable situation above the slide. Resources are on site assessing the situation and working towards a strategy to reopen the road as soon as safely possible."
The city will provide another update today at 1 p.m.
May 4, 2:30 p.m.
City of Revelstoke engineering director Brian Mallett provided an update on the slide just before 2 p.m. today.
He says the debris torrent originated near an old logging road above the site when the bank of the creek gave way and came down the creek gulley.
Right now, there is concern about some debris that is hung up at a spot above the road, making it unsafe for workers to work on the road below.
Geotechnical engineers, city engineers, Ministry of Forests staff and other crews have been working to assess the site.
"We want to see what we can done to get this blocked material moved," said Mallett of another site visit planned for later this afternoon.
Mallett said he couldn't put a timeline on re-opening, but said it would take one or two days to clear the road once workers got the okay to get started.
Garbage trucks aren't being allowed across the dam. Mallett said the city was looking to find a temporary alternate location. Just after our conversation, city staff emailed to say garbage removal was resuming as normal as of now. Mallett appealed for patience from residents on the issue. He said the city was looking for a temporary alternative dumping site.
The cause of the slide has yet to be determined. Mallett didn't think the path was below clearcutting on the mountain above. "Not to my knowledge," he said, adding that question was best left for forest ministry staff. The cuts on Boulder Mountain were done to mitigate a bark beetle infestation.
Mallett also noted a geotechnical engineer said there was evidence that the creek had been a slide path in the past, saying it could have given way about 300–400 years ago.
Currently, essential traffic is being allowed to cross the Revelstoke Dam, including Hydro workers, registered guests of the Glacier House Lodge and some others who work in the upper Westside Road area. Emergency vehicle access is being maintained by access across the dam. Other than that, non-essential traffic is not being allowed across the dam.
May 4, 12:45 p.m.
The Times Review visited the site of the Westside Road mudslide at about 11:15 a.m., viewing it from across the Columbia River.
The slide appears to have come down a small gulley where a creek runs. There are still piles of trees, dirt, rocks and gravel on the road and on the side of the Columbia River below. It doesn't appear any work has been done to clear the road.
The slide also knocked down a section of the power lines that run alongside the road. The wires are still down.
When we visited the scene, there didn't appear to be anyone there. There possibly could have been a truck or two behind a stand of trees that obscured our view of the scene.
The creek runs down a very steep slope above the road. It was swollen with water, rushing down a series of small waterfalls. There is a culvert under the road at the scene of the slide. However, it appears to have been blocked by the slide; very little water was running though it. Instead, the creek was flowing over the road through the debris.
There was clearcut logging on Boulder Mountain in 2010 above the location of the mudslide. Looking at the scene, it's hard to determine where the runoff from the clearcut area would go, but it appears that at least some of the runoff from the clearcutting would head to this location.
Those who work in the area have informed us they're being re-routed over the Revelstoke Dam to access the area.
May 4, 10:30 a.m.:
Westside Road remains closed "indefinately." The City of Revelstoke's engineering department has issued a statement saying there is "very low confidence" the road will be opened today.
The news came in an update from the City of Revelstoke sent out at 10:21 a.m. this morning.
"Resources are being mobilized to access the slide site this morning to allow for further evaluation and address strategies to reopen Westside Road," the city wrote in a statement.
Currently, engineers and other crews are on scene trying to assess the state of the slide area. There is ongoing concern about slope stability above the road at the site of the slide, causing the delay.
A mudslide at about 8:45 p.m. on May 2 blocked the road, and triggered concerns about slope stability above the road.
The city will provide another update at 3 p.m. today.
The slide has cut off the access road to the Revelstoke Dam, as well as forestry roads, the Revelstoke Landfill, tourist operations and gravel pits.
Story from May 3:
A mudslide has closed Westside Road in Revelstoke.
Barricades block the road right next to the truck stop at the Trans-Canada intersection, and vehicles are being blocked from driving north from there.
The mudslide came down at about 8:45 p.m. on May 2. The location is about 300 metres south of the Jordan River Bridge.
Revelstoke Public Works road foreman Ed Wozniak says it was a naturally-occurring mudslide that deposited about 1–1.5 metres of debris on a stretch of the road about 25–30 metres wide.
The road remains closed now, and will also be closed until at least 10 a.m. on May 3. At that point, public works will provide an update on the situation.
Wozniak said there is ongoing concern about the stability of the terrain above the road, leading to worker safety issues. At this point, Wozniak said the road was closed "indefinately."