FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has given an update on its geotechnical survey of the Old Fort landslide, which has grown to 8 million cubic metres in size.
Ministry spokesperson Lisanne Bowness said that the main slide that began on September 30th and was previously estimated at 5 million cubic metres has now grown to around 7 million cubic metres.
Another slide that is developing to the west of the main slide is approximately 1 million cubic meters, bringing the grand total of material that has moved in the past 12 days to approximately 8 million cubic metres.
To put that into perspective, it took BC Hydro’s Site C main civil works contractor nearly three years to remove the same amount of material from the north bank of the Peace River Valley to stabilize that slope.
By comparison, the 2014 mudslide that killed 43 people in Snohomish County, Washington was around 10 million cubic metres, while the largest landslide in Canadian history saw over 48 million cubic metres of rock race down the slopes of Mount Meager near Pemberton in 2010.
In an email, Bowness said that alternate routes to access the community are currently being explored, and the ministry has mobilized road construction equipment to the area and is currently on standby.
She added that while the equipment is ready to go, geotechnical engineers say that it is currently not safe to start construction on any of the options.
The Peace River Regional District is providing frequent updates about the landslide situation on its website and Facebook page, and the Ministry said that it is advising residents to check there for further details on the evacuation order and on Emergency Social Services that are being offered.