The Coquihalla Highway east of Hope will take months to get reopened, while Highway 3 has reopened to emergency vehicles only.
The “atmospheric river” that hit British Columbia just over two weeks ago caused widespread mudslides and flooding across the southwest of the province, damaging all major highways that connect the Lower Mainland to the Interior.
During a subsequent press conference, Paula Cousins, with the Ministry of Transportation, said initial damage assessments on the Coquihalla were complete and while it's still too early to know how long repairs may take, she said temporary repairs would take "months.”
“Our crews are preparing site plans to begin temporary repairs, while engineering, procurement and construction experts work to determine the best and fastest way to restore the corridor to its pre-event conditions,” Cousins said.
Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming said there are five distinct “areas of concern” on the Coquihalla, some of which are “very significant.” Photos and videos from the highway show collapsed bridges and entire sections of the road completely washed away.
“The assessments that are going on right now with our geotechs, with our engineers, with road builders and others who are involved, is to come up with a plan about what a shorter term restoration of the Coquihalla might look like,” Fleming said. “[Being] mindful of the [winter] weather conditions ... what kinds of temporary fixes and alternate routes might be able to restore the Coq and on what timeline. We'll have updates, but this week it's unknown.”
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