Whitehorse landslide cleanup and wall construction set to begin next week

·2 min read
The cleanup of the debris from the landslide that took place on April 30 in Whitehorse is scheduled to begin on Wednesday or Thursday of next week, city officials said Thursday. (Vincent Bonnay/CBC - image credit)
The cleanup of the debris from the landslide that took place on April 30 in Whitehorse is scheduled to begin on Wednesday or Thursday of next week, city officials said Thursday. (Vincent Bonnay/CBC - image credit)

Cleanup of the landslide debris in Whitehorse and the construction of the sheet pile wall are set to begin on Wednesday or Thursday next week, say city officials.

Tracy Allen, the city's director of operations, said the city expects the cleanup will take a day or a day and a half, while the construction of the sheet pile wall at the bottom of the escarpment where last month's landslide took place will take at least seven to 10 days to complete.

"And then we would be looking at reopening Robert Service Way," she said.

The road, which is one of the two main thoroughfares into downtown Whitehorse, has been closed since April 30 when 3,000 to 4,000 cubic metres of sand, silt and clay fell across it and the Millennium Trail and into the Yukon River.

Crews haven't been able to get into the area and clean up the debris or start the construction of the sheet pile wall because continued water seepage, soil movement and tension cracks have made it too dangerous.

The city said on May 12 it is building a 100-metre wide sheet pile wall at a cost of about $450,000 as a temporary measure, up to a year, to make sure another landslide doesn't cross the thoroughfare.

Allen said the city may control traffic on Robert Service Way during rush hour once it reopens until the end of June "just to ensure we don't have bumper to bumper cars again in the area."

Trails near escarpment to remain closed for now

Standing at the corner of 5th Avenue and Taylor Street on Thursday, Mayor Laura Cabott said the city has been monitoring the entire escarpment and has noticed the soil moving along the eastern airport trail area.

"[There's been] soil movements ranging from 60 millimetres to 135 millimetres … existing tension cracks are now growing in length and moving to a point where they could rupture and then slide," she said.

Jackie Hong/CBC
Jackie Hong/CBC

She added the city's technical experts say the situation will get worse before it gets better.

"There will continue to be sloughing," she said.

"And if we need to put up more fencing, then we will do that."

She said she expects the fencing and barricades to be up into June.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting