Slope stabilization at the Ten Mile Slide site on Highway 99 is now complete, improving long-term safety and reliability for people travelling the highway northeast of Lillooet.
Work has been ongoing at the site for almost four years, since major slide activity in September 2017 closed the highway for several weeks and led to load restrictions on heavy vehicles for many months, which impacted the economy of the region.
Ten Mile Slide is located within Xaxli’p’s Fountain Indian Reserve, approximately 17 kilometres northeast of Lillooet. The stretch of highway has experienced ongoing slide activity for several decades.
Following the 2017 slides, tour buses were among the vehicles unable to use the single-lane route. In March of 2019 load restrictions were eased, allowing the buses to once more travel between Whistler and Lillooet and on to points beyond, bringing some relief to businesses that depend on tour bus traffic.
As the primary connector between Lillooet and Kamloops, Highway 99 is vital to local communities and to the local and regional economy. Approximately 1,600 vehicles travel this section of Highway 99 every day, with 19 per cent of the traffic comprised of heavy vehicles (trucks and buses).
The Province and Xaxli’p worked collaboratively throughout all phases of the project and are gratified to see it reach completion.
“Xaxli’p Chief and Council are very pleased that the Ten Mile Slide Stabilization Project has come to a completion,” says Xaxli’p Chief Colleen Jacob. “It has been a long process dating back decades, as current and previous Xaxli’p leadership worked with the ministry to identify a more long-term solution to the ongoing movement of this large tunnel earthflow.
“This has greatly improved the safety and reliability of the road for all, including Xaxli’p, all surrounding St’at’imc and Lillooet communities, and the many travellers who access this route.”
To stabilize the slope, 148 concrete and composite piles were installed below the highway to support the road and prevent further movement, and 276 soil anchors were placed above the highway. The road was then reconstructed to two lanes to allow for safe and efficient travel. Approximately 40 local workers were hired to help construct the project.
“The District of Lillooet is pleased to hear about the completion of the Ten Mile Slide Project,” says Peter Busse, mayor of Lillooet. “The load restriction, now lifted, will significantly lessen the impact economically for the transport of goods in and out of our area. This was a very significant technical project with a leading-edge design, and the contractors, together with the Ministry of Transportation engineering team, offered a high degree of success in maintaining the integrity of this important piece of highway that will carry us well into the future.”
Minor ground settlement of the rebuilt highway is expected to occur. The gravel surface will remain for approximately two years until the site fully settles, at which time the highway will be paved.
To learn more about the work carried out at the 10 Mile Slide site, go to http://bit.ly/2zpnZkA.