UPDATE: Sinkhole closes Airport Way near Williamson's Lake; Vandal/beaver threat identified
Update, Friday, June 22 at 4:07 p.m.
And now for something completely different:
Did vandals help beavers take out Airport Way?
Have Revelstoke vandals enabled beavers to successfully attack a vital Revelstoke transportation infrastructure link?
That was the concern of the City of Revelstoke's Infrastructure and Security Committee meeting when they met on May 3.
The committee is a meeting of city infrastructure brass as well as top local police and fire officials. The committee stands sentinel against infrastructure threats to the citizens of Revelstoke. They had identified the beaver/vandal threat in early May, but may not have been able to act in time to stop their strike.
At issue was continued jamming of the culvert under Airport Way – right at the location where the sinkhole washed it out this morning.
"The culvert is once again jammed by beavers," the committee's minutes state. "Someone keeps pulling the trash rack off one end and we need to make it vandalism proof. Once again we have needed to pump water and clean out the culvert."
The Times Review queried the city's engineering department about the theory on Friday afternoon, but staff said they weren't allowed to comment and said they'd get a supervisor to contact us.
We didn't hear back from the supervisor by the end of the day.
Therefore, the theory remains just that – and presumably the culvert work done since then would have addressed this issue.
Update, Friday, June 22 at 1:45 p.m.
A City of Revelstoke engineering department spokesperson says the initial estimate of an approximately one-week closure still stands, saying Airport Way will be closed at the sinkhole for "most of next week."
City crews had recently repaired a culvert under the road and added more drainage at the location of the sinkhole.
Currently, crews are working on the issue, so no pedestrian or bicycle traffic is allowed through, but crews are exploring the possibility of allowing non-motorized traffic through sometime soon.
Initial story, 8:30 a.m. Friday, June 22, then updated at 10 a.m.
A sinkhole that is about four feet wide and twenty feet deep has opened up on Airport Way near the Williamson's Lake turnoff, closing the road.
A City of Revelstoke engineering department spokesperson said the hole opened up on the evening of June 21 and expanded through the night.
It is now about 20 feet deep and four feet wide and growing.
City crews are on site assessing the situation, but it's unclear how long it will take to clear up. The city spokesperson said it would be "at least" a week.
The location of the hole is just to the north of the Williamson's Lake Road, right where water from the marshy area north of the lake drains under Airport Way to the marshes north of the Revelstoke Airport.
In the past month, work crews had cut a strip across of the road to do some kind of work under the road – presumably to the culvert under the road. It had only recently been paved over again. Weeks of heavy rain and runoff soon followed.
There is a detour available via Nichol Road, Camozzi Road and Westerburg Road.
The Times Review will update this story with more details later today.