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West Kelowna  

Gellatly closed for 5 weeks

Video by Trevor Rockliffe

The issue with erosion under Gellatly Road is a bigger problem than originally thought.

Castanet first reported the situation on April 30, when it was discovered part of the bank, by the road, had been washed away. Now the road, from Witt Road to Angus Drive, will be closed for five weeks for repairs.

The District, with the support of the Regional Emergency Program and Emergency Management BC, conducts emergency repairs to shore up the bank of the road which runs parallel to Smith Creek. The Regional Emergency Program has established a Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre to assist in managing this situation.

The District closed the road on May 2 after geotechnical and hydrological studies indicated erosion of the bank on the west side of the road was threatening road and utilities infrastructure and the situation was likely to worsen. Over the weekend, more of the slope was lost and a second washout area was noted.

Rain and upland runoff caused high volumes of water in Smith Creek, which has undermined the lower portion of the bank along Gellatly Road. With more rain in the forecast, and further erosion of the bank noted, the District will immediately begin repairs to approximately 160 metres of Gellatly Road. Repairs will involve preparing to divert the wastewater that runs through a pipe underneath this section of Gellatly Road in order to prevent any possible contamination of Okanagan Lake or Smith Creek, which is a fish bearing waterway. The wastewater collection system is owned and operated by the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

In the interest of public safety, the road will remain closed to motorists and pedestrians. An informal trail on nearby Westbank First Nation has been closed as well. A detour has been established around the site and the transit stop in this location has been temporarily closed. The speed limit on the detour route will be modified to 30 km/hr during the repair. Motorists are asked to respect the speed limit and RCMP will monitor traffic.

Witt Road residents will be able to access their properties as usual. Motorists can access lower Gellatly Road from the south via Highway 97 and the Glenrosa overpass or from the north via Boucherie Road. Angus Drive can be accessed via lower Gellatly Road.

The District apologizes for any inconvenience caused by this emergency road closure.

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