A creek takes out a section of Eagle Bay Road Thursday, as this photo taken from the east side of the destruction shows. - Image credit: Glenn Johanson photo.

Stranded resident recalls similar washout

Suggestions made for a new approach to section of Eagle Bay Road.

When Glenn Johanson left his home in Eagle Bay Thursday afternoon to go to an appointment in Salmon Arm, he was met by a torrent of water rushing over the road.

He knew immediately what had happened.

Johanson lives about a half a kilometre from the spot where Eagle Bay Road was being ravaged, and he witnessed the same thing about five or six years ago.

He explains that a small lake sits up the mountain and it drains down via the creek that had just burst its banks.

The previous time, a beaver dam had burst so the water torrent released came down the mountain and obliterated the road.

“Exactly the same spot, same problem,” he says. “Five years ago they repaired the road and put in some measures that they thought would prevent a further occurrence.”

Johnson said a larger culvert was put in but it was still too small.

“Local residents thought this would never work because the volume of water coming down the creek far exceeds the volume culverts could take in a similar type of emergency.”

Johanson isn’t sure what the solution is, but he suggests a new approach.

“Otherwise this lake will keep flowing down every five or 10 years,” he said Friday. “Yesterday the road was taken out – if you measured the length along the road, probably 100 or 200 feet long, and the entire width of it.”

He said the water carried debris with it, not only continuing down the creek to the lake, but also flowing down the road and down the ditches.

“It carried some boulders and trees, and even carried a culvert at that point. The debris eventually crossed the road to someone’s house. Fortunately no one was injured.”

Johnson suggests that drainage of the lake above be looked at, as it has probably been running down the mountain for hundreds of years.

“I can see how the water has gouged out the creek bed and carried rocks and debris to the beach. So this has been going on for a long time. One solution is figuring out how to control that small lake.”

The other would be considering how the water flow that normally goes under Eagle Bay Road is designed.

“Right now they’ve put culverts under the road. Last time they put in a larger culvert, it was still too small. They need something other than a culvert, whether it’s a bridge or some other kind of diversion I have no idea. I’ll leave that to the civil engineers.”

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