FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro says alternatives are being looked at to the current plans to realign Highway 29 around the Site C dam’s future reservoir.
According to BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott, the Crown Corporation was asked by the NDP government to collaborate with the Ministry of Transportation, Treaty 8 First Nations, and others to explore alternative options to the current design plans for Highway 29’s realignment in the Cache Creek/Bear Flat area. The government asked Hydro to explore those options to reduce the effects on potential First Nations burial sites and areas of cultural significance. Members of the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have said that the current realignment of the Highway passes directly over a burial site and culturally-significant sweat lodge.
Scott said that two alternate realignment options are being considered. The first option shifts the alignment north away from a potential burial area and utilizes a longer bridge span over Cache Creek than the originally proposed span that is approximately 200 metres long. The second option shifts the alignment even further north, approximately 800 metres away from both the potential burial area and the sweat lodge and also utilizes a longer bridge span.
Scott explained that Hydro we will be conducting feasibility studies including further geotechnical and archeological investigations, cost analyses, a review of construction schedule implications, and continued discussions with affected Indigenous groups and property owners. She added that Hydro doesn’t expect to have a decision on feasibility and route selection until this summer.
The construction of the Cache Creek/Bear Flat highway realignment is expected to be underway by the Spring or Summer of 2020.