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Crews have resumed clearing the snow and debris.  (Photo: Ministry of Highways)
Crews have resumed clearing the snow and debris. (Photo: Ministry of Highways)

Coquihalla to re-open by Friday

by Kelly Hayes - Story: 37292
Feb 13, 2008 / 12:10 pm

There are no guarantees, but the Ministry of Highways says it hopes to have the Coquihalla re-opened by Friday.

The Coquihalla has been closed since last Thursday when a major slide shut down all four lanes near the snow sheds.

Crews were forced to pull out of the area because of extreme avalanche hazard.

Ministry spokesman, Jeff Knight, says the threat of further avalanches has been reduced and crews are back at work.

"The avalanche rating has been reduced to moderate and right now our focus is on the clearing operation after bringing down the unstable snow. It's now safe for road crews to start clearing the highway and will be working around the clock with the goal of getting it open by late Friday afternoon."

Knight says crews have to clear three kilometres of snow and debris from the highway.

"This is not just a snow clearing operation. When the avalanches occurred, they brought down trees, large rocks and dirt. So, there's a lot of heavy debris that has to be removed. It's not just a matter of plowing snow. It's a massive clean-up operation. In the 22 years that the Coquihalla has been open, we've never had an event like this."

He says there are more than a dozen pieces of heavy equipment working on the clearing operation.


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