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Sea to Sky rockslide damages car

"Freeze fall cycle" sends boulders onto highway



Officials at the Ministry of Transportation are blaming a "freeze fall cycle" for a rockslide that damaged a car on the Sea to Sky Highway Thursday morning.

At about 5:30 or 6 a.m., a rockslide measuring about 40 to 50 metres brought several large boulders onto the Sea to Sky Highway at a section of the road between Lions Bay and Horseshoe Bay.

The rocks fell into the highway's fast lane but the Ministry of Transportation and Highways anticipated they would be cleared up the same day.

"It's an isolated incident," said Kurt Edmonds, a District Operations Manager with the ministry. "It was only one large slump that came down. Most was contained in the shoulder, very little of it intruded into the slow lane."

Asked about any damage to motorists, Edmonds said a car struck a boulder after the rockslide took place. The vehicle sustained some damage to its front end and the driver was treated for some minor injuries at Lions Gate Hospital.

Edmonds blamed a phenomenon known as a "freeze fall cycle" for the slide. He said it's a naturally-occurring event in the Coastal Mountains where water falls into microscopic cracks in the rock face, it freezes, then as it melts it releases the rock.

He said geotechnical engineers were on site Thursday morning assessing the area for the possibility of more slide activity.



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