Penticton & South Okanagan News
Hwy. 3 is open
5:30 p.m. Update: Highway 3 Both is open to two lanes. There is a 60km/hr speed zone through the rockslide area.
Update 4:30 p.m.
The Ministry of Transportation has confirmed Highway 3 west of Keremeos will re-open at 6 p.m. Thursday evening. The highway will be open with one lane in each direction.
The decision was made to re-open the highway after geotech engineers were able to survey the slide area from the air earlier in the day. There were no concerns with the ministry's plan to build a temporary berm along the westbound lanes.
The berm will act as a means of adding protection for motorists against falling rocks reaching the roadway.
According to the ministry damaged telephone and power lines will be addressed by the respective utilities. There are no concerns regarding underground utilities.
The portion of highway, accessed by approximately 2,300 vehicles a day, has been closed since noon Monday due to a massive rock slide.
If all goes well, Highway 3 could re-open later this evening (Thursday).
The Ministry of Transportation will make another attempt this afternoon at an aerial assessment of the rock slide that has closed that portion of the highway just west of Keremeos since Monday afternoon.
The provincial agency had planned an aerial assessment Wednesday, however, poor visibility and low cloud cover prevented that from happening.
The assessment will determine the stability of the slope.
According to the Ministry of Transportation geotech engineers on the ground have completed a visual assessment of the site and plans are being developed to re-open the highway this evening.
"We have continued to monitor the site and no new rockfall activity has been reported since Tuesday," says the MoT in a news release issued Thursday morning.
"Crews are presently working to construct a rock berm along the westbound lanes to act as a means of added protection when the highway re-opens."
The highway has been closed since about noon Monday when a large rockslide sent rocks, some as large as big cars, onto the highway.
Two vehicles were impacted. One woman, 65-year-old Karen Searle was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
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