Old Fort landslide update - July 7, 2020

The Old Fort landslide is starting to dry out, but there's more rain in the forecast this week, which will stymie efforts to rebuild a road into the community.

The slide has destroyed 100 metres of Old Fort Road since reactivating June 18 after heavy rains, and has moved it 300 metres, or more than three football fields, down to the Peace River.

"The slide is beginning to dry out which is a positive sign for construction purposes," the Ministry of Transportation said in its July 7 update. "We will construct a temporary access for the residents of Old Fort as soon as possible."

However, there remains no timeline on how soon access could be re-established.

The slide must slow to less than one metre of movement per day and the site must be dry before any road building begins. Geotechnical engineers have said it could take several days for the slide to respond to another heavy storm event last week.

The ministry says the slide is currently moving at only negligible rates, however, it remains unsafe for the public to cross.

Old Fort landslide ridge, July 7, 2020. - Matt Preprost

Last week, it was hoped a temporary access road could be built as early as this weekend.

But the region was put under a severe thunderstorm watch Tuesday, and rain is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday before a brief return to dry, sunny weather on Friday and Saturday. Rain is also forecast for Sunday and Monday.

Old Fort remains on evacuation alert and cut off from standard essential services. 

The Peace River Regional District says emergency water and sewage service is planned to begin Wednesday, weather depending. Crews are staging equipment to deliver the services via a hillside ATV trail near the city's south lagoons.

Crews were also in the community Sunday and Monday to haul out household garbage, and emergency garbage service continues. RCMP surveyed the area by helicopter to identify emergency landing sites, and to long-line materials into and out of the community.

Residents have been told to conserve water and reduce their waste.

A water taxi service to Taylor was briefly suspended last week due to high river levels and dangerous debris, but service has since restarted.

Old Fort landslide. - BC Transportation and Infrastructure

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News