Highway 16 west of Jasper partially reopens after rock slide

Highway 16 leading west out of Jasper has partially re-opened after a rock slide Friday prompted a closure by Parks Canada.

Single-lane alternating traffic opens at site of Friday's rock slide

Highway 16 was cut off west of Jasper by a rock slide on Friday. (Supplied/David Baker)

Highway 16 leading west out of Jasper has partially re-opened, after a rock slide Friday prompted its closure by Parks Canada.

Flag people are directing travellers past the site through single-lane alternating traffic.

More information about what caused the rock slide isn't expected until early next week, Parks Canada spokesperson Joseph Zebrowski said.

"We're just focused on getting the road open," he said.

A geotechnical engineer examined the rock face late Friday night and determined it was too dangerous for passing traffic.

"He confirmed that the slope was really too unstable to allow the single-lane traffic until we had the right stuff in place and the crews could start working on it," Zebrowski said.

Crews have been working on site since 7 a.m. Saturday, Zebrowski said.

The highway partially reopened just before noon Saturday. At that time, about 20 semi-trucks that had been backed up on the west side of the closure were allowed to pass.

"They were allowed to go through first," Zebrowski said. "They were in place for about 24 hours and our crews were able to supply them with food and drink."

There is no estimated time for when two-lane traffic will resume and motorists should expect a delay of around 20 minutes at the site of the rock slide. 

Highway 93 still closed

A "controlled" avalanche swallowed a section of the Icefields Parkway on Thursday, shutting down Highway 93 north between the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11. 

Parks Canada triggered the avalanche to reduce avalanche risks near Lake Louise, but brought down more snow than intended.

Highway 93 south of Jasper has re-opened up to Saskatchewan River Crossing, but remains closed between Highway 1 and Saskatchewan River Crossing.

Several smaller avalanches cascaded across sections of Icefields Parkway early Saturday morning, with debris nearly two metres deep in some areas.

Crews cleared the snow by Saturday afternoon, but continue to work on the aftermath of Thursday's controlled avalanche.