The Coal Creek Road bridge remains unconnected to the road due to the November 2021 rain storm, but an alternate route was permitted for recreationlists to access up the valley in winter. Pictured here in April 2022. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

The Coal Creek Road bridge remains unconnected to the road due to the November 2021 rain storm, but an alternate route was permitted for recreationlists to access up the valley in winter. Pictured here in April 2022. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Coal Creek Rd repairs done

Road access has been returned to 5km beyond town to where the road crosses Coal Creek

Works have been completed on parts of Coal Creek Rd that were severely undermined and damaged by Coal Creek during the November 2021 floods.

Contractors worked for five weeks in January and February to install rip-rap along the riverbank and return the road to its previous condition.

Access up Coal Creek Rd has been returned up to the Rifle Range and the Coal Creek snowmobile staging area, 3.5 km down the road from town.

“In cooperation with the City of Fernie, the ministry has completed the repairs to segments of Coal Creek Road that were heavily damaged by the November atmospheric river event,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).

“These repairs have provided access for recreationalists, as well as to private property.”

Road access remains uninterrupted beyond the Rifle Range up to the Coal Creek Rd bridge, a further 2km along the road, but access to that bridge, let alone beyond it is no longer possible due to a 30-metre gap between the road and the western end of the bridge, which allows Coal Creek Rd to continue along the southern bank of the river.

According to MOTI, their work is done, and further works to allow access further up the valley were beyond it’s purview.

“The remainder of the road traverses though private property and road under permit through Crown lands where the ministry does not have jurisdiction.”

In the November storms, Coal Creek chewed away at the riverbank under the bridge and eroded it to where it sits now, and would require significant works to re-connect the road with the bridge, which itself has been damaged by the floodwaters.

The lands further up the valley are managed by forestry company CanWel, which allows back country users access for recreation. In winter, CanWel permitted the creation of temporary access up the valley by way of an alternate route through its lands. While the Coal Creek Bridge remains inaccessible, there is alternate access via the Morrissey area.

CanWel didn’t respond to any queries about the future of Coal Creek Rd or the bridge.

READ MORE: Repairs to begin in earnest on Fernie trails damaged by November storms



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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