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Full reopening of Robert Service Way delayed

City shares then scrubs 24/7 reopening after movement observed in landslide zone
Robert Service Way was open to traffic as of 7 a.m. on May 26. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

Changing conditions prompted the City of Whitehorse to walk back a plan for 24/7 openings of the portion of Robert Service Way that was closed by a landslide early last month.

On May 25, the city posted a notice stating the road would remain open that evening rather than closing at 7 p.m. and reopening the following morning at 7 a.m. on the same schedule the city has been keeping since May 15.

The announcement about the proposed complete reopening cited safety precautions including a berm made of material that slid down the face of the escarpment, concrete barriers, a slope scanner and sensor equipment. It was also clear that the situation could still change.

Late in the afternoon on May 25, the city issued another notice stating that the slope scanner had picked up unanticipated movement on the escarpment and the road would be closed at 7 p.m. They said conditions would be reassessed in the morning to decide if the road would reopen at 7 a.m.

Trails in the area, including the Millenium Trail, remain closed.

According to the city, there will be a future closure of the road to remove the berm and barriers that are currently in place. The city says these were always a temporary solution that constricts traffic flow and would require extensive work to maintain. Removal work is being planned for off-peak hours and the city stated it would provide notice when it planned to start the removal.

Looking farther into the future, the city says that as landslides on the escarpment at Robert Service Way have become a regular occurrence, annual spring closures can be expected until a permanent solution is in place. That long-term solution is not on the immediate horizon as the city says it is sure to be a major project requiring extensive design work.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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