Heavy rainfall causes lane closure on Highway 63 in Fort McMurray

A section of a major transportation artery in the oilsands capital remains closed this week as crews clean up after a mudslide.

Lane affected by mudslide will remain closed until a hill assessment is completed

A mudslide has closed one lane of traffic on a section of Highway 63 that runs through Fort McMurray. The mudslide first reported Saturday night has affected the southbound bypass lane. (David Thurton/ CBC)

A section of a major transportation artery in Fort McMurray remains closed this week as crews clean up after a mudslide.

On Saturday night, a section of the hill that shoulders Highway 63 collapsed on to one of the lanes near Morrison Street. 

The mudslide has affected a southbound lane, which is used to bypass traffic headed to the downtown core. 

Traffic continues to flow uninterrupted on the rest of the five-lane highway.

Alberta Transportation spokesperson Wayne Wood said no vehicles were damaged as a result of the landslide, which was first reported Saturday around 10 p.m.

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo spokesperson Adam Hardiman said it's too early to say if the landslide on Highway 63 will impact municipal or private property that sits on the hill above the roadway.

The lane will remain closed most of the week, Wood said, until engineers can be certain that the hill is stable. 

The mudslide was just one problem in the region, after a weekend of heavy rainfall.

On social media people posted pictures of flooded streets, including Grey Crescent in the neighbourhood of Gregoire. 

Grey Crescent in the Fort McMurray neighbourhood of Gregoire flooded Saturday after heavy rains. (Michael Cechetto/ Submitted)

Residents in the trailer park told CBC Monday their properties were not seriously damaged and they spent the weekend cleaning up their driveways and yards.

The municipality also said in a email statement Monday that it received reports of basement flooding in the region and two reports of sewer backups.

Hospital back up and running

Alberta Health Services said things are almost back to normal after water flooded the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre's emergency department, the kitchen and fifth floor offices on Saturday.

AHS spokesperson Lisa Laferriere said emergency and kitchen operations resumed on Sunday after both areas were cleaned, though cleanup continues on the fifth floor. 

"There was minimal impact to patient care during this time," Laferriere said in an email. "We are exploring ways to avoid this happening again and will be conducting construction to mitigate the issue in the future."

Laferriere said a storm water system backup caused the flooding in the emergency department and AHS is investigating the exact location of water leaks in the other locations. 

Connect with David Thurton, CBC's Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca 


David Thurton

Senior reporter, Parliamentary Correspondent

David Thurton is a senior reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He covers daily politics in the nation’s capital and specializes in environment and energy policy. Born in Canada but raised in Trinidad and Tobago, he’s moved around more times than he can count. He’s worked for CBC in several provinces and territories, including Alberta and the Northwest Territories.