City of Whitehorse closes off more areas near landslide

The City of Whitehorse says residences are not at risk after it discovered new tension cracks along the escarpment, prompting it to put fencing around Hanson and Hawkins Street park, as well as around the lot on 5th Avenue.

City says homes are not at risk after finding new tension cracks along the escarpment

The City of Whitehorse placed more fencing around the escarpment area Wednesday after it found new tension cracks. The city said residences are not at risk. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

The City of Whitehorse closed some trails near the escarpment Wednesday after discovering several new tension cracks.

It said its surveys show groundwater continuing to flow down the face of the escarpment, and mud flows happening in the afternoons. 

"These signs indicate a potential for additional slides to occur," the city said in a statement.

Tracy Allen, the city's director of operations, said the city was taking the measures "out of an overabundance of caution."

She added homes are not at risk.

The city placed fencing and barricades around Hanson and Hawkins Street park, as well as around the lot on 5th Avenue.

Allen said the Black Street stairs are still open as well as the trail it leads to.

A map shows the area now closed off along the escarpment. The city placed additional fencing after it found more water seepage and tension cracks along the escarpment. (Submitted by City of Whitehorse)

She said the city has been monitoring the entire escarpment since a landslide happened on April 30 where 3,000 to 4,000 cubic metres of sand, silt and clay fell across Robert Service Way and the Millennium Trail and into the Yukon River.

City crews still haven't been able to clear the debris from the landslide because the continued seepage of water and the tension cracks in the area make it too dangerous.

Allen said the city is hoping to start building a sheet pile wall next week where the slide happened, and clean up the debris the following week.

City officials said on May 12 a sheet pile wall will be built as a temporary measure to make sure other potential future slides within the next year don't cross Robert Service Way.

The wall will also allow the city to remove the debris and reopen the road.

With files from Dave White