Hike service

Landslide closes Robert Service Way and Millennium Trail in Whitehorse

Robert Service Way, the Millennium Trail and the Airport Trail near downtown Whitehorse are temporarily closed due to an apparent landslide on the escarpment around 3 p.m. Saturday.

Derek Johnstone, transportation supervisor for the City of Whitehorse, says the area around the landslide is unstable due to ice under the mud that has melted due to warmer temperatures.

“The flowing water slid one of the areas on the road and also destroyed part of the Millennium Trail,” he said.

The City is asking people to avoid this area until the mud, rocks and trees have been removed and the road and trails can be reopened safely. (Submitted by Yukon Emergency Medical Services)

Road and trail closures include the area from the Robert Service Way roundabout to the ball field.

The City is asking people to avoid this area until the mud, rocks and trees have been removed and the road and trails can be reopened safely.

“From what I can see here, it’s basically just the guardrail. There was some of the railroad infrastructure that was dug up as well,” he says.

Johnstone says the road will likely be closed to vehicles and pedestrians until late Sunday afternoon or until all materials are removed and city crews can assess the situation.

He says no one was injured and there were no vehicles nearby at the time.

“I heard a boom – a very loud noise”

Teresa Earle was driving south just by the Eagle’s Nest on Robert Service Way when she heard a “boom, very loud noise”.

“I saw it come down towards me, then it fell on my rearview mirror,” she said.

Earle says she immediately pulled over to the side of the road and called 911.

“I was the first to call. I was on the phone with 911, and then another slide fell even bigger in the same spot,” she says.

Earle says that immediately after his call, the emergency response center and bylaws officers showed up on the scene.

“It’s time to appreciate all the public service people who have stepped up,” she said.

Whitehorse resident Lenore Morris said she took a bike ride on Miles Canyon Road, “by the time I got back the slide had happened.” (Submitted by Lenore Morris)

The city calls for caution

Johnstone says it’s the first time he remembers a landslide — which the city called a quagmire — of this size.

“It started happening last year with the snow accumulation we had last year. And it’s not just that area,” he says.

Johnstone says the unstable zone extends along the entire clay bank. He says residents should exercise caution when using the trails on the clay cliffs.

“I would watch when you walk just to make sure.”

(Submitted by Yukon Emergency Medical Services)