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 when necessary, with a ministry pilot and spotters in place.

“We understand the impact to local residents and businesses, 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton RCMP seek suspect in ‘bold’ Martin Street robbery

Officers following numerous leads and hope to have suspect in custody soon

COVID-19 expected to affect Summerland finances

Council will discuss effects of pandemic during April 14 meeting

BREAKING: Inmate at Okanagan Correctional Centre tests positive for COVID-19

This is B.C.’s first community outbreak at a corrections facility

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

‘We’re working to help every Canadian’: Minister of Middle Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier explains she is working with all levels of government amid COVID-19

Two planes come into close contact above Kelowna

The incident occurred between a WestJet flight and a private plane back in 2019

Most Read