Popular access to Fraser River closed in Chilliwack for safety reasons

First a sign went up on Old Orchard to prohibit anyone from driving the access road to the Fraser. Now access is blocked off

Signage went up last week warning Chilliwack drivers to avoid the steep drop-offs into the Fraser River near Old Orchard Road. Now the area is completely blocked to vehicle traffic.

Signage went up last week warning Chilliwack drivers to avoid the steep drop-offs into the Fraser River near Old Orchard Road. Now the area is completely blocked to vehicle traffic.

Signage went up last week warning Chilliwack drivers and off-roaders to avoid the steep drop-offs into the Fraser River near Old Orchard Road.

Now the area is completely blocked to vehicle traffic.

It’s the first year the current of the Fraser River has shifted to this extent, eating away at the foreshore  with substantial erosion, according to city staff.

First they erected a sign on Old Orchard to warn users not to drive along the access road to the Fraser.

Now vehicle access has been completely blocked off physically this week, after sections of the eroded shore made it a threat to public safety.

“Vehicles should not proceed beyond this point,” according to the orange sign.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz also asked the community on social media to stay away from the eroded sections, because they are “very dangerous.”

The access road off Old Orchard has become a popular area on Crown land for recreational anglers and off-road riders to gain river access.

There’s a huge, gaping scour hole cut into the river bank as of this week.

The concrete barriers were installed Wednesday on the shoulder of the road by city crews. They were placed near where an old gate used to be, and the move to prohibit vehicles was at the request of RCMP, according to city staff.

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff have been in touch with city officials to coordinate a response to public safety concerns.

“Warning/notification signs and barriers have been installed along Old Orchard Road to prevent vehicle access,” said Greig Bethel, spokesperson for Ministry of FLNRO.

City officials also regularly monitor sections of the Fraser where there is access to the river for safety reasons, according to staff, and watch for any threats to diking infrastructure or public safety.

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