Wes Böhmer snapped this photo on the morning of April 30, just a few hours after flooding knocked out a large section of Ootsa Nadina Road.

“An awful roar”

Highway worker gives eyewitness account of spectacular flooding on Ootsa Nadina Road

An eyewitness to the flooding that destroyed a large section of Ootsa Nadina Road during the onset of the spring melt has described his experience to the Lakes District News.

Wes Böhmer was keeping an eye on the flooded section of Ootsa Nadina Road, near the 12 km mark, when the wreckage occurred, in the early hours of Sunday, April 30.

Böhmer was on safety watch, making sure that no vehicles tried to cross the ill-fated stretch.

He works part-time for Lakes District Maintenance (LDM), the firm responsible for highway maintenance in the region.

The flooding worsened around midnight, said Böhmer. And a short while later, the ground began to shift.

Deluge filled the ravine

It was 2:25 a.m. on April 30 when the road washed away completely, said Böhmer.

“I checked my watch, in case someone asked,” he said.

Moments earlier, there was about eight inches of water on the road.

The current was eroding the highway from below, and it soon began washing away the surface as far as the centre line.

From there, it was only 15 minutes before the whole stretch was destroyed by the fast-moving water, leaving a chasm that measured 24 metres across and 7.5 metres deep.

“It moved a lot of water in a hurry,” he said, adding that the deluge soon filled most of the ravine downstream from the road.

“You could hear the bells ring”

He compared the roar of water filling the ravine to that of a 10-metre waterfall on Surel Creek, in Tweedsmuir Park.

The sound was also akin to water rushing through the Skins Spillway on the Nechako Reservoir.

“It’s an awful roar, a racket as the water leaves the lake,” he said of the spillway.

And there was another, more curious sound. Water had covered the branches of trees that had been soaked in water, creating icicles as the water receded.

“All these trees had hanging icicles on them,” he said. The wind blew and the icicles tinkled.

“As you stood there, you could hear the bells ring,” said Böhmer.

Moose sighting

After sunrise, Böhmer photographed a moose crossing the road near the destroyed section of road.

“It was the first local resident on the scene,” said Böhmer, who lives at Takysie Lake, about 15 km from the site of the wash out.

Repairs in progress

Meanwhile, LDM has reported that repairs are ongoing. Crews were laying the foundation for new culverts by May 14, according to LDM’s Twitter feed.

The company reported on the morning of May 18 that single-lane traffic would open on Ootsa Nadina Road later that day.

Just Posted

Wildfire update for Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shovel Lake: 68,375 hectares - yesterday 50,831 hectares The Shovel Lake wildfire… Continue reading

Evacuation order rescinded for Gilmore Lake Fire

Evacuation alert remains in effect

Shovel Lake expanded evacuation order

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has issued an expanded Evacuation Order and… Continue reading

Helping hands

Fire fighters from Delta, Sooke, White Rock, Sydney, Courtney and Qualicum Beach… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

70 years after Babe Ruth’s death, fans still flock to grave

After Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53, tens of thousands of fans came to pay respects

Airbnb’s federal budget proposal tells Liberals, ‘we want to be regulated’

Submission says ‘we want to be regulated’ and asks the government to avoid forcing existing rules

Greens won’t run candidate in Burnaby South as ‘leader’s courtesy’ to Singh: May

Green Leader Elizabeth May says the decision is an extension of a ‘leader’s courtesy’

Missing B.C. hiker, dog found safe after 3-day search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Church sex scandal: Abuse victims want a full reckoning

Since the crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, dioceses around the country have dealt with similar revelations of widespread sexual abuse.

Most Read