The MD of Pincher Creek, Alta. continues to keep a close eye on a section of roadway above the Castle Valley Campground just west of the airport, after a section of the hillside gave way back in September.

Known as Highway 3A, and just metres away from the old Highway 3 passage, the hill remains a concern, where in one spot, there’s ongoing sloughing.

To stop any further movement, at least in the short term, public works manager Patrick Gauvreau said crews will need to stabilize the slope farther down the hill.

“We’re going to access this bottom road and put a massive amount of overburden right there on the bottom end where it’s all sliding,” explained Gauvreau, during a tour of the site from the highway. 

“See on the other side of the fence, about 40 feet down, all that earth that’s slumped … that’s all earth that’s moved.”

The idea, he said, is to use the incoming material that’s trucked in as a counterweight. 

“We’re going to put a lot of that material on top of that bottom part and what it’s going to do is hold the rest of the road up. So, if you can picture a teeter-totter, we’re going to put a massive amount of weight on the bottom end here and it’s going to provide support so there’s no more sliding.”

In industry terms, Gauvreau is aiming for a 3-to-1 slope that will be filled with pit run material.

“Basically when you remove your topsoil here, you get your riverbed material. That’s your pit run. Basically, uncrushed aggregate material, different sized rocks.”

Unlike a mudslide where water is above ground, indications looking at the hill are that an in-ground water source is behind the sloughing. If so, from where?

A realignment of the road, though, is not in the cards.

“If this can be a short-term fix, we might not need to do anything else,” Gauvreau said. “But if we need to anchor, and by that I mean if we need to bore anchors to the other side, and put some concrete blocks on the other side, to hold this bank together, then that could be a long-term solution.”

While the numbers haven’t been crunched, Gauvreau has been told it would probably be close to 10 days of hauling, pit run in this case, to lay down the amount of material that could eventually stabilize the hillside.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed,” he added, “our short-term fix will turn out to be the long-term fix.”

By Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 13, 2023 at 16:31

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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