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Hwy. 3, 99 and parts of Hwy. 1 to close over weekend as heavy rainfall sparks slide concerns

3 atmospheric rivers set to hit the region after last week’s flooding
Work is being done on a section of the Coquihalla Highway after damage was caused by heavy rains and mudslides north of Hope, B.C., on Monday, November 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

With a trio of atmospheric rivers set to hit the region, the province is closing a number of troubled highways that were targeted in major flooding earlier this month.

In a statement Friday (Nov. 26), the province announced that Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton and Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet will close on Saturday afternoon.

Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon will also be closed. Those three routes will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning after the next rainfall moves through the region.

Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope will also be closed Saturday afternoon due to reservoir releases by BC Hydro – notable crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.

Each release will discharge additional water toward areas of Highway 1 that were previously affected in the Nov. 14 storm, which shut down stretches of Highway 1 for as long as 10 days.

This additional flow - combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows - poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area, the province said.

A reopening time for Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope is undetermined as it is expected that these combinations of events will result in further damage to Highway 1. Crews will undertake assessment when it is safe to do so, and equipment will be on standby for repairs.

ALSO READ: Environment Canada issues ‘red alert’ with 3 atmospheric rivers in the forecast

The highway closures come with a special flood watch ongoing, implemented by Environment Canada on Friday.

B.C.’s south coast has been pummelled with significant rain in what has become the wettest November on record. Four people have been confirmed dead and two people remain missing. A number of British Columbians remain under an evacuation order.

The Coquihalla Highway remains closed with projections of reopening into the New Year.

ALSO READ: CN close to Fraser Canyon reopening, Highway 1 access target mid-January

Under the ongoing state of emergency, two orders remain in effect for the region: A limit on 30 litres of gas per purchase at the pump until at least Dec. 1 and a non-essential travel ban on most highways impacted by the flooding.

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place.

ALSO READ: PM Justin Trudeau lands in Abbotsford to tour flooded areas

More to come.


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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