The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a release that continued use of forest service roads by heavy industrial traffic has resulted in severe and unprecedented damage across the Omineca Natural Resource Region. (B.C. government photo)

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a release that continued use of forest service roads by heavy industrial traffic has resulted in severe and unprecedented damage across the Omineca Natural Resource Region. (B.C. government photo)

Soft road conditions force restricted access to forest service roads in Omineca Natural Resource Region

Work to complete maintenance “extremely limited”

As of midnight on Thursday, May 6, access to all forest service roads within the Omineca Natural Resource Region has been restricted.

The order applies to the Mackenzie Natural Resource District, Stuart Nechako Natural Resource District and the Prince George Natural Resource District, and will restrict vehicles over 3,500 kilograms from using the roads.

“The Omineca Natural Resource Region experienced extremely high rain fall levels in 2020 which resulted in saturated roads,” the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a release.

“This moisture has not significantly dissipated over the winter period and in combination with the frost coming out of the ground has resulted in extremely soft road conditions. Continued use by heavy industrial traffic has resulted in severe, unprecedented damage to Forest Service Roads (FSR) throughout the Omineca Natural Resource Region.”

Use of FSRs for the following is not restricted:

• Tree planting activities

• Road maintenance activities

• Recreation vehicles (not recommenced due to road conditions)

• Grocery, fuel and other essential deliveries to communities

The road restrictions are established to limit the use of FSRs, the ministry said, during a period when road surface and subgrade are susceptible to damage.

READ MORE: B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

The district manager may also close individual FSRs to all industrial traffic due to excessive damage, which will be communicated by the ministry separately by each district.

“Further restriction relief may be considered on a case by case basis for FSRs the district deems supportive of all-season traffic,” the ministry states.

“Applications for such restriction relief must be applied for in writing to the district manager and include appropriate rationale for use, damage prevention strategies and, or mitigation plan to remediate damage incurred through use.”

Due to the current conditions and damage on FSRs, the ministry is recommending that public avoid them wherever possible.

“Due to the soft, wet conditions of the FSRs, the ability to complete maintenance work is extremely limited for the next number of weeks.”


 


greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

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