The July 1 washout of the Alaska Highway is being blamed on a collapsing beaver dam.
The road surface was washed away on July 1 just south of the British Columbia/Yukon border in the vicinity of highway kilometre 897 halting traffic on the major route.
According to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), the washout was caused by heavy rainfall in the previous weeks that led to the collapse of a beaver dam. With the dam breached, water rushed downhill and carried stones and other debris that blocked culverts under the highway. This led the water to back up and then flow over the road surface with such power that it took a 75-metre long stretch of highway with it.
A July 5 email from PSPC stated that they notified the contractor in charge of maintaining the stretch of highway and crews arrived on scene on July 1. PSPC says traffic barriers were put in place and work on a temporary detour began.
The single-lane detour was completed at approximately 3 p.m. on July 4. Traffic control measures including a pilot car are in place and will remain until work on the main section of the highway is completed.
The statement from PSPC estimates engineered repairs to the highway will take between six and eight weeks to complete.
“All efforts will be expended to ensure the repairs are completed as soon as possible,” it reads.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org