BC officials gave an update Friday about damage to the Trans Canada Highway due to flooding and mudslides, saying the government has begun liaising with construction and engineering firms to repair the roadways.
The key highway is currently closed east of Hope, with crews working at seven different sites of significant damage along the Fraser Canyon. One site, at Jackass Mountain, suffered major damage where a large section of two-lane road was wiped out.
Crews at Tank Hill bare building a detour where the highway that slipped under a railway track was completely washed away. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said that the landslide “sheered off” 70 metres of the two-lane road under the railway.
Although there’s no estimated time of reopening through the mountainous sections of Highway 1, welcome news came for drivers on Thursday when the section of Highway 1 reopened through Abbotsford with reduced speed limits.
There’s still water in the roadside ditches, with submerged trucks in some sections at the side of the road.
Highway 3 temporarily closed again
The only road link for transport trucks connecting Metro Vancouver to the Interior right now is through Highway 7 and then Highway 3.
That vital roadway reopened last week but had to temporarily close Monday due to a mudslide — and a new crash Friday morning near Princeton has forced it to close again. There is currently no estimated time of reopening on DriveBC.
Looks pretty bad. pic.twitter.com/6FeqBku2t4
— #GlazersOut (@zeelo88) November 26, 2021
More than 4,000 transport trucks have traversed the Highway 7 to Highway 3 route since it reopened, Fleming said. There are currently travel restrictions on the highway that only allow essential vehicles to drive on it.
Highway 99 through Lillooet is open to passenger vehicles, but there are size restrictions on that route.
Chunks of Highway 8 ripped away
The BC Ministry of Transport has also released more photos of the vast sections of Highway 8 completely washed away by the Nicola River. Fleming said that approximately five to six kilometres of roadway are gone.
“Permanent rebuilds of Highways 1, 8, and the Coquihalla will take time,” Fleming said. “We have gone out to market firms with requests for qualifications. They’ve been sent to construction companies and engineering design firms.”
In the meantime, the US has allowed exemptions for transport truck drivers to bypass the usual red tape and deliver their goods via American highways.
Airlines have also increased their cargo capacity, Fleming said. Excess container ships coming into the Port of Vancouver are also being stored on industrial land in Richmond until road and rail lines are back at full capacity.
BC’s gas restrictions working well: officials
BC has been rationing drivers to only 30 litres of gas at a time as the Trans Mountain pipeline shutoff and supply chain chokes due to closed highways and railways have reduced the amount of fuel coming into the region.
On Friday, Fleming said they were having their desired effect.
“It’s working well because British Columbians are doing the right thing… We haven’t had any areas of the province completely run out.”