Hamilton looking at converting an upbound lane

A picture of the exposed escarpment face on Claremon Access.

Claremont wall failure
Photo by Gord Bowes
A section of the escarpment face is exposed Monday afternoon after failing retaining were removed along the Claremont Access.

Downbound traffic may resume on the Claremont Access next week.

The city is looking at converting one of the upbound lanes to allow for two-way traffic on the Mountain road which has been a one-way route since Nov. 25, said Hamilton public works general manager Dan McKinnon.

Staff are preparing the road for the conversion but still studying traffic patterns and congestion to see whether it will be necessary, he said.

Lane modifications can’t be done until after work on the Jolley Cut bridge is completed, likely on Dec. 14.

“We’re going to monitor it and make the appropriate decision when the time comes,” said McKinnon.

While doing preventative maintenance on the escarpment face in late November, workers found some of the retaining walls had failed. For the safety of motorists, downbound lanes were closed.

The walls date back to the 1970s.

“We developed a plan to removed the panels that had failed, but when the guys were up there last Wednesday (Nov. 30) they noticed more movement on the slope,” said McKinnon.

When the walls were installed, he said, there was a gap to the rock face that was backfilled with material. Freeze-thaw cycles and roots from vegetation have put pressure on the aging walls and resulted in failures.

“I’m not worried about a major collapse or anything, I’m more concerned about the odd piece of material breaking off and rolling down the rock face,” said McKinnon. “Some of the outcrops may look small from below, but they could be the size of a desk chair and if they rolled onto the roadway that could be very dangerous.”

It could be up to eight weeks before lanes on the Claremont are returned to their pre-slide state.

Escarpment maintenance that was to take place this week along the Sherman Access has been delayed because of the Claremont restrictions.

“It’s not urgent,” said McKinnon. “It was planned, scheduled work.”

Source: Hamilton Community News