Crews are working on Highway 97 north of Summerland following a rock slide which occurred last week. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure expects the highway will be open by Wednesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Update: Crews have removed more than 500 cubic metres from rock slide site

Main transit corridor between Penticton and Kelowna expected to reopen on Wednesday afternoon

Updated 4:45 p.m.

Crews have now removed more than 500 cubic metres from the site in the areas where it is safe to work.

More blasting is planned for tomorrow morning and depending on the geotechnical assessment to follow, could provide Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff with a more detailed timeline of reopening.

Ministry staff are still hopeful the road will reopen on Wednesday afternoon.

Once the highway is deemed safe, there is still considerable work to be done to ensure the longer term stability of the site

As a result, intermittent closures during daytime hours can be expected.

Engineers have approved clearance for emergency vehicles to go through the slide area wgeb becessartm, with a ministry pilot and spotters in place.

“We understand the impact to local residents and business, and appreciate peoples’ patience while ministry staff work to create stability for travel along this section of Highway 97,” a Ministry news release states.

Updated 12:17 p.m.

Highway 97 remains north of Summerland remains closed today, but officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure say they are hoping to have the road open to traffic by Wednesday afternoon.

However, the reopening will depend on the progress made on removing debris from the rock slide.

“Safety is our top priority, and we will have the route restored as soon as it is safe to do so,” a news release from the ministry stated.

Blasting at the site on Monday went well and approximately 100 cubic metres was brought down.

“Now that the hill is more accessible, we have been able to increase the number of rock scalers from seven to 10,” the release says. “Scalers moved further north on the slope this morning to prepare for further blasting, and we now have two excavators and a rock hammer on site to keep building the access up the slope. Our maintenance contractor, Argo, has mobilized large off-highway rock trucks to remove as much material as soon as possible after blasting.”

Once the debris is removed, crews will reassess the slope to determine what other steps need to be taken.

Two alternate routes are in place.

For light vehicles, five tonnes or less, the 201 Forest Service Road is available. This road can be accessed via Warren Avenue and Carmi Avenue in Penticton and off Highway 33 near McCulloch Road in Kelowna. Signage and traffic control have been installed at both locations.

The speed limit along this road is 50 kilometres an hour.

Larger vehicle must use Highway 97C, Highway 5A, Highway 3A and Highway 3.

Updated 11:02 a.m.

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton reports there will be 10 rock scalers at the site today with other heavy equipment.

In addition, four off-highway dump trucks will be at the scene to remove the debris.

The plan is to have two lanes open for traffic, one in each direction.

“Ideally, given the large amount of material to be removed and ongoing scaling work, it is expected traffic may be moving at some point tomorrow, most likely before noon,Æ he says.

Once the highway is reopened, a schedule is expected as ongoing temporary closures will be required as the work continues.

6:55 a.m.

Highway 97 north of Summerland remains closed on Tuesday morning, due to the rock slides late last week, with an update from Drive BC expected at noon.

A rock scaling team, along with geo-technical engineers identified a blast line that was being drilled yesterday with blasting expected later on Tuesday afternoon.

Related: Driver films rock slide

According to MLA Dan Ashton, further technical evaluation would then be required to ensure that slope stability has been obtained. He said once that occurs then debris removal can occur and limited traffic flow can being, subject to all safety factors have been met.

Related: Chamber pres concerned about economic impact of extended Highway 97 closure

“However, given many variables yet to be known and pending the afternoon blasting, in my view it is more likely that possible access through the area may not be until sometimes (Tuesday). Again, this is based on (Monday’s) activities concluding successfully,” said Ashton.

This news article will be updated as more information becomes available throughout the day.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Most Read