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Questions raised about Sea to Sky Highway structural integrity

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The new Sea to Sky Highway is only about five years old, but already there are questions being raised about part of its structural integrity.

Photos taken by people in the road building industry and sent to blogger and columnist Laila Yuile show separation between big concrete blocks that are used to form the retaining walls.

“In some cases it’s a matter of inches. You’re able to reach in. In some of the photos you can see people using a ruler to put in between them. Either you can see sand coming out between the bricks, or there’s water leaching,” says Yuile.

The Ministry of Transportation says it has done its own investigation, and insists the issue is a cosmetic one, not affecting the structural integrity of the walls. It adds the walls are inspected annually.

But there have been problems elsewhere: in 2011, a retaining wall on a highway near Kelowna collapsed, and one as part of the new Cape Horn Interchange had to be replaced.

“These walls are generally built to last 70 years, and we’re seeing failures within a very short time,” Yuile tells News1130.

All of the walls are built by Kiewit & Sons, and in the past the company has been held responsible for the financial burden of repairs.