Traffic along Highway 16 was blocked at Tlell Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 31) as a high tide tossed logs and debris onto the highway near Wiggins Road.
Ministry of Transportation area manager Stephanie Gillis said the road was closed for about 90 minutes. Contractor O’Brien Road and Bridge was on the scene immediately and cleared the debris as quickly as possible, she said.
It’s the second time in a month the road has been closed in that location due to logs washing up. The same thing occurred during a storm Dec. 31.
Wiggins Road is one of the sites where rip-rap was installed last year to protect the highway. Ms Gillis said engineers predicted that debris would wash onto the road. The important thing, she said, is that the rip-rap protect the coast from erosion.
“We’re not getting erosion on the existing protected areas, that’s the big thing,” she said. “The debris can be cleaned up in no time, the big concern is the erosion.”
Ms Gillis said she expects the same thing to happen in the future. O’Brien Road and Bridge staff monitor the tides and weather and know when to be ready to clear the highway in Tlell, she said.
The rip-rap work done last year is holding up well, although the unprotected coastline obviously continues to erode, Ms Gillis said. In some areas, the beach is coming extremely close to the highway.
“It’s something we’re monitoring,” she said. “There are a few sites on the main highway we are watchingÂ… If it gets to a point where we need to act on it to protect our infrastructure, we will.”
The highest tide this month is a 23.6-footer on Feb. 28.
Ms Gillis said islanders can find out about any road closures or conditions on the islands by checking www.drivebc.ca
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