Nfld. & Labrador

Stretch of Trans-Canada closed near ramp collapse

Transportation officials in western Newfoundland have closed a bigger stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway near a spectacular collapse of a off-ramp.
A Trans-Canada Highway ramp near Pasadena collapsed after soil beneath it fell away following several days of heavy rain. Submitted by Brent Ruth (Submitted by Brent Ruth)

Transportation officials in western Newfoundland have closed a bigger stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway near a spectacular collapse of an off-ramp.

The decision was made Wednesday, less than 48 hours after a massive chunk of land beneath an off-ramp near Pasadena collapsed.

The government cited a technical assessment of the integrity of the highway. That assessment is continuing.

The crumbling land destroyed much of an offramp, and left a massive gash near the westbound lanes of the highway.

Westbound vehicles for the time being will be rerouted to Pasadena's Main Street, a six-kilometre detour along a former section of the Trans-Canada Highway.

In a statement, the Department of Transportation and Works urged motorists to lower speeds during the detour.

Eastbound lanes are not affected.

The government said a "full geotechnical assessment" is underway. Officials have pointed to heavy rains last week and rising water levels at nearby Deer Lake as contributing to the collapse of the land underneath the ramp.

It's not known how long the detour will remain in place. Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said it may take months to finish repairs to the ramp itself.

More traffic in Pasadena

Meanwhile, Pasadena is experiencing more traffic than usual, as the westbound traffic is being detoured through the town's main street.

Mayor Gary Bishop said he was told that it's a precautionary measure, and that there hasn't been any more erosion of the highway.

He said drivers are obeying the speed limit through the town.

"I was out there [Thursday] morning, and most traffic is taking care going through the town, and reducing their speed, which is encouraging," he said.

Bishop said it could mean a boost for local businesses.

"With the tourist season coming on, I guess with the increased traffic going through the town, it's sort of a blessing in disguise," he said.

"We're hoping that some of the businesses of course on Main Street will have some increased business because of the extra traffic flow coming through the town."