A spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it’s likely the slope above Allenby Road will still be unstable when the road finally reopens.
Speaking to the board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District at its meeting on Jan. 25, Shawn Haley, MoTI’s operations manager for the south Island, said it’s likely that only the section of the slope where the mudslide occurred on Allenby Road in November, 2021, that shut the road down will eventually be fixed.
He said MoTI asked WSP Consulting, the engineering consultant group procured by Cowichan Tribes to help develop a plan to deal with the problem, to provide the ministry with a plan for a “prescriptive fix” for the slope where the slide occurred.
“But they gave us a plan for a prescriptive fix for the entire slope, and then we’re talking about something that we’ll never be able to deliver,” Haley said.
“We would like to fix just where the failure happened for it to be brought back to a pre-slide condition, so it’s still going to be a slope that’s unstable. We do want to reopen the road, but we need to secure that one section before we can do that.”
Sections of Allenby Road between Miller and Boys Roads in Duncan were shut down in November, 2021 after a major flooding event caused a landslide that buried that part of the road in debris.
The area where the landslide occurred is on land belonging to Cowichan Tribes and, in cooperation with MoTI, the First Nation embarked on a slope assessment soon after the landslide to determine what the next steps should be in stabilizing the hill and reopening Allenby Road.
But progress has been slow, and Haley acknowledged it’s a complicated issue.
“It’s the responsibility of Cowichan Tribes to do the work required to reopen the road,” he said.
“We are working with Cowichan Tribes who are also working with the province’s Emergency Management B.C. which is trying to figure out how Cowichan Tribes wants to address this. We have offered our help, whether in financial aid and/or labour, and now we’re waiting on Cowichan Tribes.”
Comments from Cowichan Tribes on the issue were not received by press time.
Haley also said MoTI hopes to have protected left-turn signals at three dangerous intersections on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Cowichan Valley installed by March 31.
He said the left-turn signals at the intersections of Koksilah and Hutchinson roads and the Trans-Canada Highway have been designed and an order has been placed for them with an electrical contractor.
He said the lights at the intersection of Fisher Road are still in the design stage, but MoTI still hopes to have full installation of all the lights by the end of March.
A petition to implement dedicated protected left-turn signals at the intersections last summer garnered more than 2,900 signatures in less than week.
The petition came after a fatal accident on July 26 at the Hutchinson Road intersection.
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