Rubble from the collapsed south entrance to the old Slocan highway tunnel will be left in place, according to the province.
In an email, Ministry of Forests and Lands spokesman David Currie also said there is a danger of more rock coming down.
“A site inspection will be conducted by [ministry] staff and a warning sign will be installed on the trail before the hazard,” he said.
Currie says the abandoned highway is not managed or monitored by the province, so they had no specific warning before the collapse sometime over the winter.
Locals say a crack recently became visible in the rock. However, there is no concern about the stability of the current highway above due to the tunnel’s partial failure.
“This is unlikely, due to the type of rock and the small size of the rock fall relative to the distance to the highway,” Currie wrote. Ministry of Transportation staff “have formally checked into any risk … and there is no effect on Highway 6.”
He says there are thousands of kilometers of unmanaged trails and abandoned roads in B.C. which people use at their own risk and should exercise caution and common sense on.
“In the case of the collapsed tunnel, we are aware of a clear and ongoing hazard in a location that is commonly used by the public,” he says. “That is why we are going to install signs and barriers to let people know of the risks in the area.”
The one-lane tunnel was built in 1926-27 as part of the highway between Slocan and Silverton but abandoned when a new road bypassed it in the 1970s.
It was degazetted by the Ministry of Transportation in 2003 and reverted to Crown land, but remained a popular trail. The north side of the tunnel remains partially standing.