Detour relief in sight

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m.

Friday's evening's anticipated reopening of Highway 33 east of Kelowna can't come soon enough for some.

Residents of the Goudie-Cardinal Creek area tell Castanet heavy commercial truck traffic is ignoring a ban on using the detour through their neighbourhood.

Traffic has been diverted since a large washout undermined the highway Tuesday morning. Commercial vehicles must use Highway 3 to get to the Kootenays, however.

"There (aren't) supposed to be any commercial transport trucks using the detour, and yet all day I've heard large vehicles using the road, (and) as I type this a transport truck heads down my street," said one resident named Christine.

"Telling truckers they can't use the road means nothing if no one is actually going to enforce it."

She said the residential streets are narrow and winding, and people are driving too fast.

"Maybe something will be done before someone gets killed," she added.

UPDATE: 2:25 p.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 33 could open east of Kelowna as soon as Friday evening.

The estimated time of reopening is 7 p.m. Friday. 

ORIGINAL: 12:40 p.m.

Ministry of Transportation crews have been working round the clock to repair a massive washout that has closed Highway 33 east of Kelowna.

"Every effort is made to keep people safe on our roadways; it is our top priority," a ministry spokesperson said Thursday in a press statement.

The washout took out a large chunk of the highway early Tuesday, just south of the 8 Mile Ranch curve.

Crews continue to work through the night in challenging conditions, due to the saturated ground, but good progress is being made, the ministry says.

"Our geotechnical team continues to assess the area, and will determine when it is safe to at least partially open the road to vehicle traffic. The ministry appreciates the patience of residents, drivers, and commercial vehicle operators while we complete this important work to ensure the area is repaired and safe for travel."

There is currently no estimated time of reopening, but three excavators and one loader are working on site, with six trucks hauling material.

Higher than average snowpacks in the Okanagan are increasing the risk of mudslides and washouts, the ministry says.

A detour is available via Goudie Road and Cardinal Creek Road, however commercial vehicles are required to use Highway 97 and Highway 3 through Osoyoos.

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