Skip to content

Robert Service Way reopening not expected to be impacted by latest landslide

Robert Service Way has been closed since April 30
Fences close off much of the base of the escarpment downtown as it continues to see sloughing, slides, tension cracks and movement. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

The planned reopening of Robert Service Way has not been impacted by the most recent escarpment slide in the area, city spokesperson Jordan Lutz confirmed in a June 2 email.

A May 31 landslide sent debris down the escarpment about 300 metres from the original April 30 slide, which closed Robert Service Way between Fourth Avenue and the Robert Service Campground, as well as a large part of the Millennium Trail and part of the airport trail.

The April 30 slide saw an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 cubic metres of debris slide down the escarpment, across Robert Service Way and onto the Yukon River, taking out a light standard, rail tracks and a guardrail.

The slides are being caused by saturated soils brought on by the record snowfall this winter.

A 100-metre sheet pile wall is being installed to prevent damage from any future slides before the road will be reopened. City officials said May 30 it’s anticipated the road will reopen with temporary traffic controls in about two weeks.

Since the April 30 slide, the city has been monitoring the escarpment with a number of areas along the base closed off downtown, including three parks. Evacuation orders are in place for three properties, though only one was occupied.

While many escarpment areas remain closed, the Black Street stairs connecting downtown with the airport trail via the escarpment, is open.

“This is an area that is being monitored daily for signs of instability,” Lutz said. “It is expected that the stairs will remain open unless conditions change.”

The city’s recreation department’s June 8 Black Street Stairs Challenge, which invited participants to see how many sets of the stairs they could do in an hour, has been postponed out of caution and low registration numbers.

Another two large slides occurred May 27 and 28 downtown ahead of the May 31 slide.

Lutz said the May 31 slide had been anticipated as staff and geotechnical engineers had been tracking a growing tension crack.

“Fortunately, there are no other sites along the escarpment showing signs of imminent collapse similar to this slide, and this latest slide hasn’t affected the re-opening of Robert Service Way,” the city said in a statement posted to social media.

The public continues to be instructed to avoid both the top and base of the escarpment and stay out of closed areas.

Anyone who witnesses a slide is asked to report it to the city’s trouble line at 667-2111.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
Read more