The Coquihalla Highway, which was devastated by the storm, is anticipated to resume commercial traffic on Monday, allowing B.C. people to travel between the Lower Mainland and the Interior by Christmas.
The unexpected new timeframe is credited to “one of the most impressive engineering feats in recent memory,” according to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, who noted that the Coquihalla crumbled at multiple points during the historic Nov. 15 storm that caused the catastrophic flood in the south of the province.
“The response by our maintenance contractors, subcontractors, and engineers to reinstate the Coquihalla Highway is as exceptional as the storms that caused the damage in the first place,” Fleming said on Wednesday.
The province first stated that the roadway would reopen in a restricted capacity by the end of January but later revised that date to the beginning of February. According to Fleming, traffic is likely to resume moving on Dec. 20, although the exact date will not be known for a few days.
Paula Cousins, the Ministry of Transportation’s regional executive director, also revealed extra information on the extent of the damage inflicted over a 130-kilometer stretch of the Coquihalla in November.
According to Cousins, 14 lanes were “totally wiped out or seriously undermined,” and seven bridge structures were either destroyed or threatened. The highway was also impacted by five other slips.
Since the storm, a staff of roughly 300 people has been working around the clock with 200 pieces of heavy machinery to reopen the important highway.
Source: CTV News