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West Fraser Road construction begins this spring

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming. Government of B.C. photo

QUESNEL – Work to rebuild and realign the washed-out portion of West Fraser Road will get underway this spring, improving the lives of people in the region by creating a safer, more reliable road and bridge.

“Since flooding washed out West Fraser Road in spring 2018, we’ve been actively working on a long-term solution,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a news release. “Construction is anticipated to begin next month on a new alignment that will restore direct access to Quesnel and provide a reliable route for people who live and work in the area.”

The ministry has awarded a $37.7-million contract to Enviro-Ex Contracting Ltd. of Prince George to rebuild and realign the washed-out sections of West Fraser Road.

Along with a new two-lane bridge over Narcosli Creek, 5.6 kilometres of paved two-lane road will be constructed on a new alignment on the east side of the creek. When completed, the new West Fraser Road will bypass the active slide areas along the washed-out portions and improve the safety and efficiency of the roadway. Construction is anticipated to begin in April 2021 and finish in fall 2023.

?Esdilagh First Nation has an agreement with the ministry to clear the site in preparation for major road construction. The logging works underway began in February 2021. As well, the banks of Narcosli Creek will be protected with riprap (large rocks) to prevent further damage from the coming spring freshet, and that work is underway through hired local equipment.

Provincial construction sites have protocols and policies in place following the requirements of the provincial health officer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include physical distancing and other protocols to ensure workers’ and public safety.

In April 2018, high water from the spring freshet caused Narcosli Creek to erode five sections of West Fraser Road on the west side of the Fraser River, approximately 17 kilometres south of Quesnel. The road had to be closed due to the severe damage.

Up to 150 vehicles a day normally use West Fraser Road to access the ?Esdilagh First Nation community, ranches, logging activities, farming lands and local residences. Since the washout, people have used a detour route via the Garner and Webster Lake road system, which has added significant travel time.

Upon completion of the project, Emergency Management BC will submit a claim to the federal government for partial reimbursement through Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

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