The B.C. government has announced it will be extending the current provincial state of emergency into the new year with multiple highways still sitting damaged.
The Province says that given the continued need for public safety measures under the Emergency Program Act and ongoing work to repair damaged highways, the state of emergency will be extended until the end of the day on January 11, 2022.
A provincial state of emergency was officially deployed back on November 17 following a period of extremely heavy rain that resulted in significant floods and mudslides across B.C.
The state of emergency is intended to mitigate impacts on transportation networks and movement of essential goods and supplies, as well as support the provincewide response and recovery from the widespread damage caused by the severe weather.
“While significant progress has been made in recovery and repair efforts, there is still more to do to reopen our highways and get people back into their homes,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “My thanks go out to all British Columbians for their patience and compliance during these challenging times, and to the crews who have worked tirelessly to get these highways back open.”
An order that restricts non-essential travel still remains in place for both Highway 5 and Highway 99.
The areas affected by the travel restrictions include:
- Highway 5 (Coquihalla) between Hope and Merritt (only commercial vehicles with a minimum licensed gross vehicle weight of 11,794 kilograms, and inter-city buses are permitted);
- From the junction of Highway 99 and Lillooet River Road to the BC Hydro Seton Lake campsite access in Lillooet (open to all traffic, but vehicles weighing more than 14,500 kilograms are not permitted).
“Reopening the Coquihalla to commercial trucks and intercity buses was an important step in our recovery from November’s storm damage,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Repairs to our highway infrastructure are progressing well. However, with winter conditions here and more work to do, some restrictions must remain in place.”
The state of emergency gives the Province the ability to use extraordinary powers to protect people and communities.