Old Fort Road during a landslide, June 21, 2020. (BC Transportation)

Old Fort Road during a landslide, June 21, 2020. (BC Transportation)

Creeping slide prompts evacuation alert, road closure in Old Fort, B.C.

Second time in two years the road has closed

A slow-moving landslide has closed the only road into a small community along British Columbia’s Peace River for the second time in less than two years.

Residents of Old Fort, B.C., are on evacuation alert and the Transportation Ministry says Old Fort Road is closed except to emergency vehicles.

The B.C. government says localized ground movement was detected Thursday evening but there was no movement detected near residences and the road is closed as a precaution.

The Peace River Regional District issued an evacuation alert Friday evening for the Old Fort subdivision, warning that the road would be closed overnight and Saturday morning.

The alert says anyone not prepared to shelter in place should consider leaving the area in case the situation worsened and the road remained closed.

Residents of Old Fort, which is a 15-minute drive from Fort St. John, were evacuated for about a month in fall 2018 because a mudslide blocked the road.

The ground movement has created difficulty for Transportation Ministry staff to maintain the road in a safe and passable condition, and the likelihood, duration and speed of the continued ground movement is unpredictable, the evacuation alert says.

It says 150 metres of the road is affected, while cracking and movement extends 100 metres upslope. There is “creeping behaviour” moving down the road and a ripple in the ground that may indicate the toe is 120 metres below the road, it says.

The slide movement rate has increased and movements of up to 300 to 450 mm per hour have been recorded.

It says there’s potential for danger to life or health should the road become completely impassible for an unknown length of time.

The Transportation Ministry says construction equipment, maintenance contractor staff and ministry technical staff are on site.

The Canadian Press

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