In some welcome news, crews have reestablished a link between the Lower Mainland and hard-hit areas of BC’s Interior, which will allow the movement of essential goods to the region.
A connection has been established from Highway 7 to Hope, then Hope to the BC Interior via Highway 3.
For the time being, only essential vehicles will be permitted to travel this route.
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BC Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming made the announcement at a press conference on Friday afternoon. He warned there would be congestion on the route and to be prepared and patient.
According to the provincial government, the following vehicles are considered essential:
- Emergency service vehicles (fire, police, ambulance and healthcare including urgent medical treatment)
- Public transit vehicles
- Commercial transport trucks – critical goods and services (food and beverage, healthcare, safety)
- Refrigerated trucks
- Potable water delivery/wastewater service
- Grocery delivery
- Road repair, maintenance and recovery vehicles/tow trucks
- Military vehicles
- Critical infrastructure, construction and repair vehicles
- Home-care workers
- Municipal service vehicles
- First Nations government service vehicles
- BC Ferries/Coast Guard/tugboats/marine emergency/pilot boats
- Canada Post and other couriers/package delivery vehicles
- Vehicles for the provision of critical government services
- Airport authority vehicles and air travel
- Waste disposal/recycling
- BC Hydro, Fortis and other heavy-duty and light-duty utility vehicles
- Telecommunication repair and installation vehicles
- Fuel delivery trucks and boats
- School buses
- Agricultural and farm-use vehicles, including vehicles supporting flood response
- Veterinarians supporting flood response
- Inter-city buses
“I cannot overstate how appreciative I am of everybody who was involved in this incredible effort,” said Fleming.
“They have been going around the clock, clearing and repairing sections of the highway to the point where we can get traffic moving today.”
He adamantly stated that the route is not open to recreational or non-essential travel, and that it would be best to wait an extra day or two to travel if possible.
Fleming also provided an update on the situation on Highway 99, which links to Highway 97, saying that the route could be open by Sunday for restricted travel.