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Penticton  

Work underway at detour

Chelsea Powrie

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

Crews will be hard at work this week on a diverted route along Highway 97, because the highway itself won't be stable for a while. 

Callan Road will be reworked to connect to the highway south and north of the slide area. 

"The plan is to build a connection about 50 to 75 metres south of the slide to reconnect it to Highway 97," said Paula Cousins, Deputy Director for the Southern Interior Region. ""Once it's constructed, it is our intent that it will accommodate one lane of traffic in either direction."

The ministry told media Wednesday that Callan Road was not a viable option for a reroute because it was potentially in the path of a further slide, but they have now changed their decision.

"Because Callan Road is quite a bit farther away from the active slide site than the highway, our engineers feel that we can safely reestablish traffic along Callan Road," Cousins said. 

Crews working 10-hour shifts will construct a two-lane connection, spanning only a few hundred metres in total. 

"Drilling has resumed at the site, using portable hand-drilling equipment while slope monitoring continues. Due to the instability of the slope, heavier drilling equipment cannot be used at this point," said Danielle Pope, media relations, MoTI. "There are currently eight scalers working on ropes with two ground support workers. Four hand drills and two compressors are on site with two more hand drills on the way."

The slide itself still doesn't bode well for the highway reopening anytime soon. 

"We've measured between six to 11 millimetres of movement [in 24 hours] within the southern portion of the failure," said Tom Kneale, MoTI geotechnical manager of slopes and stability.

The ministry had no word on when the highway itself will be fit to use again. 


ORIGINAL: 11:50 a.m.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says construction is underway to use Callan Road, which runs below the slide area on Highway 97, for a detour — but it will be several days.

"Notification has been given to local First Nations communities and we are working closely with them," said Paula Cousins, Deputy Director for the Southern Interior Region.

The slide has continued to move significantly over the past 24 hours.

They are expecting the maximum traffic delay between Penticton and Peachland compared to normal will be between five and 15 minutes, once the detour is in place. 

They expect to have the detour open within four to five days.

Castanet will have more to come. 



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