By Steve Hubrecht

[email protected]

The provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) plans to address the erosion on Westside Road south of Invermere.

As reported last week, erosion and washout near an elongated S-curve a few hundred metres south of Coy’s Road has created a dangerous situation. A large crack has appeared in the eastern lane at the south side of the curve, and the easternmost edge of the road has crumbled away, leaving an alarming drop down the bank below. 

Northbound drivers heading into the curve have no choice but to veer into the southbound lane to avoid the crack. Unfortunately doing so puts them directly in the path of oncoming southbound traffic driving around the corner — oncoming traffic that has only a partial view of what’s happening at the erosion spot.

According to local accounts, the erosion has been an issue for a month or more. A local resident shared an Instagram post of the hazard two weeks ago, and the post included a video of two vehicles (a veering northbound vehicle and a regular southbound vehicle coming around the corner) missing each other by not much more than a second or two.

The Pioneer was unable to reach MOTI for comment before last week’s press deadline. MOTI did respond after the deadline, however, outlining that it is aware of the issue.

“Ministry staff and the maintenance contractor have increased monitoring and patrols of the area to ensure the safety of the travelling public,” a MOTI spokesperson said in a statement to the Pioneer. 

The ministry explained there is currently warning signage on site to ensure users are aware of the conditions and said that some of its geotechnical staff members were scheduled to be on site last week to assess the slope. 

“Once the assessment is complete, the ministry will review the scope of repairs and all possible solutions. 

Repairs will be carried out as soon as possible, based on recommendations from the geotechnical investigation,” said the spokesperson.

The Pioneer asked if the ministry would opt for a long-term solution to the erosion, which could come with a very substantial price tag and take some time to complete. Or, whether it would do a quick fix to make things safe for the time being, and then examine long-term solutions in the future. 

On that particular point the ministry spokesperson responded that “when the ministry assesses geotechnical issues, we review both short- and long-term solutions that consider the safety of the travelling public.”