Ministry hopes soil anchors will help hold South Taylor Hill

More than 100 soil nails will be drilled down into the middle of the South Taylor Hill this year as part of a trial attempt to anchor the slide-prone hill into place.

Officials with the transportation ministry gave Taylor council an overview of the project this week, calling it a “complicated solution” that needs to be tried before the top of the hill can be expanded to four lanes.

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“What it is is a series of 130 odd soil nails up the mid-section of the hill, where we know there is some deep and complex geotechnical movement,” said acting district manager Katie Ward.

“We’re starting with one row. The intent of that is to see how those soil anchors perform and use that to judge how much we’ll need to do on the next phase.”

Greenfield Construction of New Brunswick has been hired for the project under a $6.5-million contract.

Crews will be clearing brush through the winter, though much of the actual project work won’t be seen from the highway. Truck traffic on the hill will increase once excavations and drilling begins, officials said, and the Johnson Pit will be used for disposal.

The anchors will be pinned into bedrock with concrete and gravel blankets will be used to protect from frost.

The anchors will be monitored for two years to see how well they secure the hill from sliding, and to see how often their tension will need to be adjusted for the winter-spring thaw cycle.

The project area will be fenced to protect the work from ATV traffic. There will be a gate to allow for wildlife movement.

The lower portion of the hill was four-laned in 2016. Drainage improvements made to the top portion have helped to minimize water pooling there, officials said.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca. 

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