What You Need to Know about the Deep Creek Slide on West Fraser Road

UPDATE: West Fraser Road will be reopened at Deep Creek Hill beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday (May 8, 2015). The road is reduced to some single lane sections and we’ll continue to monitor slide activity. There will be signage alerting drivers to yield to oncoming traffic (no traffic control on site). If safety becomes a concern again, the alternate route (Garner and Webster Lake roads) will go back into effect with a closure, so please be prepared for that possibility.

If you live in the Quesnel area, you might be wondering why the West Fraser Road has been closed for so long. We have noticed some local traffic trying to use the road and wanted to let you know why this isn’t such a good idea.

March 21, 2015 - The beginning of the slump on West Fraser Road
March 21, 2015 – The beginning of the slump on West Fraser Road

On March 21, 2015 a “land stability” event closed West Fraser Road at Deep Creek Hill in both directions (approximately 20 km SW of Quesnel). Our geotechnical engineers were sent in to assess the site and after a thorough review it was determined that this site was still active, meaning that the earth movement happening here was still underway.

March 28, 2015 - The West Fraser Road slump progression shown one week after the beginning of the event
March 28, 2015 – The West Fraser Road slump progression shown one week after the beginning of the event

We currently have two different teams of geotechnical engineers monitoring and assessing the site. Aerial surveys of the land activity are underway and the results of these will be compared to determine if the activity is localized or part of a larger event.

A detour is in place at Garner Road. While we understand the inconvenience this closure causes to local traffic, our first concern is making sure that the area has stabilized and is safe for travel. Until we can confirm that this event is over, we are asking for public support in staying off of the road and use the detour. Learn more about what our geo-technical engineers look for when assessing landslides

Deep Creek April 10, 2015 - A wide screen glimpse at the movement two weeks into April.
Deep Creek April 10, 2015 – A wide screen glimpse at the movement two weeks into April.

Garner Road has been stabilized and graded to make the detour more comfortable for travellers during the West Fraser Road closure.

Garner Road Stabilized
The Garner Road detour route was stabilized in order to make the route more comfortable for traffic during the West Fraser Road closure
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Page 1 of 17 comments on “What You Need to Know about the Deep Creek Slide on West Fraser Road”

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  1. Could you please tell me the current state of the Deep Creek hill. There are a fundraising duo who wish to cycled the west fraser road on their way to Alaska. Can they reach Quesnel coming from Williams Lake on the west side?

    • Hello Liz-Anne,

      The Deep Creek Hill area is still closed, and will remain that way for a while.
      The cyclists will have to use Hwy 97 ( on the east side) in order to travel from Williams Lake to Quesnel.
      Thanks for connecting with us here. We wish them safe and happy trails.

  2. I spoke to an engineer about a month ago who was working on the the Deep Creek hill slide. It was explained that no work could be done until the subsurface water dried up. At this time it seems that the exact date is indefinite, and could lead into summer. Despite a nebulous date in the future, the question remains whether Deep Creek Hill can be fixed? The engineer seemed to indicate that this slide was very substantial, and he couldn’t say whether it wouldn’t be continuous. For now I suppose I will have to resign myself to traveling nearly three hours a day in addition to my twelve hour day/night shifts to make it home. Trust me, this is dangerous. Luckily I don’t currently have to share these logging roads with logging trucks, until of course they begin logging again. At that point the drive will become more dangerous. I am fairly certain that most residents don’t carry radios that can communicate with logging traffic. I am not most concerned for my own safety, but that of my wife and two small children who will be jousting logging trucks every time they go in to get some groceries. I guess what I am trying to get at is that Deep Creek hill poses a long term problem that perhaps needs to be addressed in a different way than merely bandaiding the situation. ie Is the ministry looking at possibly going around the hill with another road so that we can avoid the constant threat of a slide, or of contending with logging traffic? We need some sort of an indication of when we can have safer transport for our families. We need something more than “when it stops sliding.”

    • Hi Yasha,

      We have gotten your messages and have asked the area manager for more information on the expected length of the closure. Thanks for your continued patience.

    • Hello again Yasha,

      As you no doubt know, West Fraser Road was open to single lane alternating traffic as of Friday at approximately 4 pm. The detour adds approximately 20 km to the trip and should be approximately 20 minutes. This time was given to us by the School Bus Supervisor in the area. The detour route was base stabilized in order to make the route dust free. Currently, there are no logging trucks running on the detour route as they are on break up. We continue to work on solutions for the slide and have our engineers looking into de-watering as part of the total solution. Hope that this helps!

  3. Just as I suspected. Today on my way home from work I stopped at Rurick Spring on West Fraser .rd .There is a moderate steam of water coming through the culvert on the lower side of the road and then it is let free again ?If one takes 5 minutes to walk down the short gravel road you will see the flat is completely saturated.it has established a really good size pond which is very heavy as this sinks it pulls the road with it .Here again a culvert or better yet 1/2 a culvert 1/2 the price . Lol should be established to move the water out of this area the quicker the better .Even then it will take along time to dry this area up.

    • Hi Dean,

      We spoke with the Operations Manager about this and he confirmed that Rurick Springs is an on-going slide and not part of the Deep Creek Slide issue. This slide has been ongoing for a number of years and Emcon will be re-profiling the road at this location by removing the asphalt and hauling in gravel . Hope that this helps.

  4. Looking after the water run off through culverts and ditching will greatly improve the sub soil erosion on this hill .The way the culverts are right now the water just travels into the bush and totally saturates the area to the right side of the hill.Having large ponds in the bush can not help the situation .If you take a shovel 25′ into the bush were the first two culvert lead dig a 12″ deep hole it will fill with water in 5 minutes.If that water was in a culvert to the creek it would be gone in 5 minutes.Same thing for Rurick Spring! Knicker bocker as well I don’t think it would hurt removing the water off as fast as possible vs saturating the area below the problem ? It is probably best to take videos during spring run off.

  5. This hill was never this bad until the culverts were put across the road . The water is totally saturating the subsoils on right side of the hill as you start up the hill.the culvert near the top of the hill has created a pond on the last switch back.the pond contains a lot of water this can not be helpful to a stable hill . I spoke will Mr Moores in regards to the pond ,and was told that it has always been there.I don’t think so Mr Moores, trees do not grow in water.The culvert up near the top of the hill is contributing to this pond as I have walked through the bush and can clearly see that a large portion of the out flow water from this culvert ends up in this pond .The pond base is sinking as well. If one has a real good look at it the water from this pond use to run to the right. There is a ravine in which the water went Down in the past.The culverts are a great idea .Why do we use a culvert ? We use a culvert to establish “control”.So once you have established control of the 80,000-100,000 gallons of water on this hill through the spring run off why ? Just aimlessly allow the water to run uncontrolled through the bush.Especially on the lower part of the hill which is the reason the trees are leaning over.1000 gallons of water culverted to the creek is gone in 15 minutes .1000 gallons pumped into the bush takes months to dissipate .There should be a clay lined ditch or culvert to the creek hitting rip rap to reduce erosion . But as for the road bed moving it has not moved since apr 7 when a geo tech service put a hub to measure movement .The road is not slipping. It has sunk because the saturation of the sub soils.Which the subsoils have been carried to the creek via water .Soil piping erosion .The centre line of the road has not moved.A single lane should be established .Enough already.Mr Moores the water you could hear running under the road ,it was in the culvert ! Once it hits the bush I don’t think you will hear it anymore .

    • Hi Dean,

      We spoke with the Operations Manager, who told us that our geotechnical engineers are reviewing options to see if de-watering at this location is possible. Regarding the Knickerbocker Slide – Blackwater Road, the slide extends from the Fraser River (approximately 300-400m from the Blackwater Road) to the above road. It is an extensive slide and too expensive to fix with current technology. Hope that this helps!

  6. This is so much crap. Your hill pictures misrepresent the actual situation. If you take a picture to supposedly show what is happening (NOT), then take the picture of exactly the same shot, not some wide angle picture of how bad you want the hill to appear. It has been a month since the road was closed, no accounting from anybody about a reopening if ever, and such a lovely detour around. Enough. And don’t bother to respond with some lip service garbage about what a wonderful job is being done. FIX THE NARCOSLI HILL ROAD.

    • Hi Diana,
      We are sorry to hear your frustration. We can certainly appreciate the inconvenience that this event is causing for local traffic but because the safety of the travelling public is our absolute top priority and because instability continues in this area, we must continue to monitor the event and as soon as the area has stabilized, we will fix and open the road.

    • If you look closely between photos one and two, they are taken from about the same location. The road is severely messed up in shot 2. picture 3 shows more widespread damage.

  7. I can understand the risk to people traveling over this slide area, but my sympathies go to those West Fraser residents being forced to commute over the Garner RD detour. That road is extremely rough with baseball sized gravel surfacing. Its very hard on vehicles and for anyone traveling it with less than a 1 ton truck represents an extra expensive hardship. I drove out there and couldn’t travel over 70 kph and then suffered a blowout. There used to be a ferry to provide a suitable alternative, but not now.

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for sharing your concerns with us here. We spoke with the project manager in the district office about your comment and were told that the ministry added base stabilization and graded Garner Road over the weekend (see additional photo added to blog above) in order to make this detour more comfortable for travellers during the closure. Hope that this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

  8. Properly close the road so no traffic goes over it. SIMPLE. Anything less is not being diligent, and the province could be sued, wasting more taxpayers dollars.

    • Hello,

      The safety of the travelling public is always our first priority. This route is completely barricaded with chained concrete barriers and it will remain closed until the route is safe to travel.