A Shuswap resident was surprised to find the main route to his home, just outside of Salmon Arm, was suddenly blocked off by cement barriers last week.
Terry Robinson said he got no warning from the province’s transportation ministry that the roadblocks, to prevent traffic from travelling a damaged section of Kault Hill Road, were going to be installed.
Robinson and other residents had been using the road since it was damaged more than six months ago so he was taken aback to see it suddenly blockaded.
“Tuesday night I was coming home from work, as I [have] for the last 30 years, and it is dark and you can’t see anything,” Robinson recalled.
“I drove up on to the barricades with no warning. [There were] no letters, no phone calls to let me know the road was going to be closed.”
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However, the province’s transportation ministry said the road was closed with signage in place last spring around the time of the damage.
It said the recent installation of barriers is to “ensure safety” by preventing vehicles from driving through the damaged portion of Kault Hill Road.
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The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it tried to contact all affected landowners but couldn’t connect with everyone.
Robinson said there are two inhabited properties past the location of the installed barriers.
“To just close it all of a sudden without any kind of warning is what is frustrating,” he said.
There is an alternate route to Robinson’s home, but he said it is harder to navigate especially in the winter.
He is concerned about the ability of emergency services to access the area.
Kault Hill Road was damaged in the spring of 2018 and has yet to be fixed. Megan Turcato / Global News
Kault Hill Road was damaged in the spring of 2018 and has yet to be fixed.
Megan Turcato / Global News
“Once it starts to snow, it has got a really steep grade to it and sharp angles so it is kind of hard to get up and down. With a car it is almost impossible [and] with a four-wheel-drive [vehicle] it is pretty sketchy,” Robinson said.
However, the province defended its decision to block the damaged route for safety reasons and said the detour route has been upgraded to allow winter maintenance.
The transportation ministry said it didn’t have time to fix the damage on the road before winter because Kault Hill Road was one of “several hundred” sites damaged by flooding this year.
However, the province said it has done “an extensive engineering review to determine potential options to repair the failure,” and plans to finish work on the road are “as soon as possible” in 2019.