Coquihalla highway repairs will take months, BC officials confirm

Nov 19 2021, 12:30 am

It will be months before drivers can take the Coquihalla Highway from Metro Vancouver to BC’s Interior, transport officials confirmed Thursday.

The highway experienced devastating damage during a record-breaking atmospheric river storm this week that cut off the province’s major transport routes.

Repairs will be done in two phases, the first being temporary to restore access between communities, Transport Minister Rob Fleming said. Those will take months. The next step is permanently rebuilding the highway, when crews will strive to make it stronger and more resilient than it was before. It’s not known how long that will take.

“The condition that you’ve seen in images from the air of the Coquihalla tells the story,” Fleming said. “The condition on the ground is what we’re gathering now.”

Engineers and geotechnical experts are visiting broken bridges and washouts to come up with the best way to repair the highway. Although the province has not put a price tag on repairs yet, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said BC has the fiscal capacity to do it.

The federal government has also pledged to help pay for repairs.

The BC Ministry of Transportation has shared shocking aerial images of broken bridges and huge chunks of pavement missing.

coquihalla highway

@TranBC/Twitter

coquihalla highway

A severed portion of BC’s Coquihalla Hwy5 at Juliet is seen in a BC Transportation photo on Nov 17, 2021

coquihalla at coldwater

Coquihalla Highway/BC Ministry of Transportation/Flickr

coquihalla coldwater

Coquihalla Highway/Coldwater/BC Ministry of Transportation/Flickr

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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