West Bench Hill Road

  • Posted on: 12 April 2017
  • By: Michael Brydon

Here we go again: Anyone who doubts the instability of West Bench soils should take a look at the new dip on West Bench Hill Road.  This dip is in a slightly different place than the previous large dip.  A few things to know about this problem:

  1. Rural roads (and drainage from roads) are the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI).  The RDOS has nothing to do with planning, engineering, or upkeep of our roads and drainage (see the Area F owner's manual for more information).
  2. MoTI is aware of the problem (as indicated by the bump sign).
  3. The West Bench water system supply main runs along the east side of the road, so the RDOS does have a serious interest in this instability.  The main is high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) and can flex a fair bit.  However, a massive failure of the slope could cause major interuptions of the West Bench water system--this would be very bad.  RDOS Public Works is monitoring the situation.
  4. There is no evidence to suggest the West Bench water main is the root cause of the instability.  For example, meter readings at the pumphouse do not indicate a leak.  Rain seems to be the likely culprit.  And as the dip gets bigger it attracts more water flow.
  5. I suspect the repair will be extensive once the rain stops. You may have seen the work they had to do following the recent and somewhat similar Peachland slide. Let's hope it does not come to this.


Hi Michael: Thank you for doing such a great job of keeping us all informed about our area. On the subject of the roads up here, I have a huge!! question about the intersection of Bartlett and West Bench, that pesky pothole situation that never goes away. That whole intersection, but especially the southwest corner, truly needs major infrastructure work done on it. In one day the (major) potholes go from fixed to ripped because of the gravel trucks. Someone is going to end up having major reconstructive surgery on their car because of those holes. I've noticed many times, after waiting weeks for it to be "fixed", that after a day or at most a week, the holes are back again. Argo always sends out a crew of two to shovel a bit of asphalt into the hole, but never actually fixes the underlying cause of the problem. My question is: are we paying for these so called fixes, and why (ok, two questions) is that corner not being properly dug out and cambered so that these holes don't keep forming. That part of the intersection has more patches in it than my husband's work socks, and those patches are about as useful as the above mentioned footwear! If the trucks are causing the problem, then maybe they should be the ones responsible for bearing the cost of a real and long term fix. Thank you for listening.

The province contracts Argo for road maintenance.  So all these fixes are paid for by the province.  Of course you pay the province through income tax and your rural tax (see more on your tax bill here).

I posted the Castanet story on potholes because it provides a bit of background information on the process.  As you have noted, so-called cold mix stands no chance against fully loaded dump trucks.  When it gets too bad you can drop MoTI a line (see owner's manual link in main post).  I do this from time to time and the problem is usally fixed (if that is the word) within a day.

I imagine the province will do something with that intersection when the weather gets better.  However, as the white bridge shows, MoTI has an incredible willingness to patch rather than replace.  I don't doubt their economics--they know what they are doing.  But my guess is that MoTI's economic models underweight the inconvenience of constant repairs for residents.