Birch Hill road closed to traffic and pedestrians as engineering crews conduct investigations. Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard

VIDEO: Crews probe Birch Hill slope fix

Instability forced partial closure of the road

Crews from engineering and consulting company Tetra Tech are digging down into Birch Hill today as the first step toward figuring what’s needed to stop the earth from moving underneath the access road up the hill.

Access to a portion of one lane and the accompanying walking path was closed off in early January after cracks started appearing in the asphalt.

Traffic access was closed off at 9 a.m. today and is not expected to open again until 3 p.m. as crews excavate test pits in order to determine what’s underneath the roadway and then how to stop the slope from further sliding away.

“We are advising people to use Park Avenue to access the area during this closure,” said City of Terrace communications advisor Kate Lautens.

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Council awarded the contract after soliciting repair bids following receipt of an initial assessment which indicated access should be close off for safety reasons.

That initial geotechnical assessment prepared for the city said the “road section failed due to a combination of oversteepened hill slopes and improperly designed and constructed retaining walls.”

So far council has allocated $300,000 for the repair project and is taking the money from a reserve account created when the province provided grants in 2019 and 2020 for capital projects.

Terrace Standard