The City of Whitehorse is advising commuters to adjust their travel plans and use alternate routes or modes of transportation as a result of Saturday's escarpment slide.
Robert Service Way and the Millennium Trail and the Airport Trail near downtown Whitehorse are temporarily closed due to an apparent landslide on the escarpment around 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Derek Johnstone, a transportation supervisor for the City of Whitehorse, says the area around the slide is unstable due to ice underneath the mud that melted due to the warmer temperatures.
"The water coming down caused one of the areas to slide across the road and just took out part of the Millennium Trail as well," he said.
The road and trail closures include the area from the Robert Service Way, from the roundabout to Miles Canyon Road near Yukon Energy Corporation. Affected areas of the Millennium Trail and the Airport Trail are also closed.
The City is asking people to avoid this area until the mud, rocks and trees have been removed, and the road and trails can be safely reopened.
"From what I can see here, it's basically just the guardrail. There was some of the infrastructure from the railroad that was dug up as well," Johnstone says.
Johnstone says the road will likely be closed for both vehicles and pedestrians until further notice when all materials are removed and city crews can assess the situation.
Alternate routes are planned for student transportation and the city says Standard Bus has been informed.
He says no one was hurt, however, there were a few vehicles and pedestrians nearby at the time.
'I heard a boom - a very loud noise'
Teresa Earle was driving southbound right near the eagle's nest on Robert Service Way when she heard a "boom, a very loud noise."
"I saw it coming down towards me and then it came across my rear mirror view," she says.
Earle says she immediately pulled on the side of the road and called 911.
"I was the first one to call. I was on the phone with 911 and then another slide came down even bigger in the same spot," she says.
Earle says immediately after her call the Emergency Response Centre and bylaw officers showed up to the scene.
"This is the time to appreciate all the public service people who stepped into action," she says.
City Asks for Caution
Johnstone says this is the first time he can remember a slide – which the city referred to as a slough – of this size happening.
"It started to happen last year with the accumulation of snow we had last year. And it's not just this one area," he says.
Johnstone says the unstable area extends along the whole clay bank. He says residents should use caution when they're using the trails on the clay cliffs.
"I would be monitoring when you're walking just to make sure," he says.
City officials are continuing to monitor the situation, and updates will be provided as they become available.
This story was updated to include the most up-to-date information. A previous version of this article stated Robert Service Way will be reopening on Sunday afternoon. In fact, it will remain closed until further notice.
May 01, 2022 01:28 PM EDT