Robert Service Way to open in 7 to 10 days 'if all goes well,' says Whitehorse mayor

Construction of a 100-metre sheet pile wall along Robert Service Way is well underway and should be completed in about a week, followed by some backfilling, which should take another two days before the city can reopen the thoroughfare into downtown.

Laura Cabott says work on the road is ‘progressing well’

Robert Service Way in Whitehorse, where crews are installing a sheet pile wall, which is made by connecting corrugated steel sheets together and driving them into the ground to mitigate the damage of a potential future landslide in the area. (Vincent Bonnay/CBC)

Robert Service Way will reopen in seven to 10 days "if all goes well," says Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott.

Speaking on CBC Radio's Yukon Morning, Cabott said work that began last week on building a 100-metre-wide sheet pile wall on the side of the road is "progressing well," although crews lost a day of work this past weekend because a piece of equipment broke.

The sheet pile wall, which is made by connecting corrugated steel sheets together and driving them into the ground, is being built at a cost of approximately $450,000 to mitigate the damage of a potential future landslide in the area. 

As of Monday morning, Cabott said there are 36 piles in the ground with 50 more to go. She said the contractor is able to put in about eight to 10 piles a day, which means it should take about a week to finish the work.

Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott, left, said Monday that if all goes well, Robert Service Way should reopen in seven to 10 days. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

"That's the best case, and assuming that there are no delays," Cabott said.

The city plans to fill the back of the piling, likely with soil, once the wall is up, 

"That'll take a couple of days," said Cabott.

About 2,000 cubic metres of sand, silt and soil fell from the escarpment across Robert Service Way and the Millennium Trail, and then into the Yukon River on April 30.

The debris was cleaned up last week as the area remained too unstable for crews to work until then.

New trail closure

The city closed a portion of the Takhini escarpment trail – between Dieppe Street and the Softball Yukon Complex – Saturday as it builds a sewer bypass.

"There is a high probability that there will be slippage on the escarpment there," said Cabott, who added that if a slide were to occur, it could compromise a city sewer line that is directly below it.

"If there is a slide before that, we're working on a backup plan," she added.

The city said the trail will be closed until at least June 11.

Written by Michel Proulx with files from Elyn Jones


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