Downpour washes out chunk of Dempster Highway

Drivers on the Dempster Highway won’t be able to get much further north than the Tombstone Mountains for the next several days at least.

Drivers on the Dempster Highway won’t be able to get much further north than the Tombstone Mountains for the next several days at least.

Heavy rain and rising water washed out sections of the highway on Thursday.

The Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works was originally hoping to have at least one lane of the highway open by the end of the day Thursday. But that didn’t happen because the damage was worse than officials thought.

“In some cases the whole road is washed away,” said spokesperson Doris Wurfbaum.

Crews thought they had four washed out areas to repair. A closer look revealed there was closer to 10 spots that needed to be fixed, she said.

Crews can’t start trying to contain the washouts or repairing culverts until water recedes, according to the department.

“It is now apparent it will likely be several days before repairs can be made and the road reopened,” Wurfbaum said.

Washout starts at about kilometre 100 meaning drivers can anticipate not getting any further north than that. Tombstone Territorial Park is at km 71.5

“Which is a good thing because we recognize Tombstone Mountain is a popular spot for this coming Discovery Days,” Wurfbaum said.

The department provides road condition updates on its website www.511yukon.ca

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