PORTEAU COVE, VANCOUVER — A series of small blasts have successfully chipped away at an unstable wall of rock above the Sea-to-Sky highway, making it likely that workers will soon be able to tackle the massive pile of boulders that has closed the route.
“We are hoping that we are going to get in there and get started moving the muck off the road pretty quickly,” Brian Atkins, assistant district manager with the Transportation Ministry, said Friday afternoon at Porteau Cove.
The highway has been impassable since late Tuesday, when about 16,000 cubic metres of rock crashed onto the route, renowned as both scenic and treacherous and in the midst of a nearly $800-million upgrade aimed at making it safer before the 2010 Olympic Games.
Officials now expect the route could be open as early as Sunday evening, but emphasized the road has been severely damaged. The slide, the largest in a dozen years, has raised a host of questions about the safety and maintenance of the route.