The District of West Kelowna has now declared a local state of emergency along a section of Gellatly Road.
The slope along Smith Creek which runs adjacent to Gellatly Road is being washed away due to erosion. But it’s not just the banks of the creek that are at risk of being washed out—so is the roadway.
Gellatly Road between Witt Road and Angus Drive is closed to all vehicles and pedestrians and will remain shut down for another month or so to allow repair work to be done.
“We consider a danger we are not willing to take any risks when it comes to public safety, ” says the manager of engineering with the District Rob Mueller.
The erosion could also cause a major environmental risk because underground sewer lines could be comprised.
“That is what we are trying to react to. If there was a slope failure and the road gave way to the centre line where the sewer is located then raw sewage would leak into the creek and Okanagan lake,” says Mueller.
This morning crews finished installing an underground sewer bypass to prevent that from happening. Next they’ll install a 330 meter long culvert to contain the creek.
The state of emergency declaration gives the district access to $440,000 in provincial funding. The total cost of the project is pegged at 1.3 Million dollars.