B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway reopens to four lanes as repairs continue after 2021 floods

B.C.'s Coquihalla Highway reopens to four lanes as repairs continue after 2021 floods
A collapsed section of a bridge sits in the water after severe flooding and landslides on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt, B.C., as seen in an aerial view from a Canadian Forces reconnaissance flight on Monday, November 22, 2021.

A stretch along a key highway that sustained severe damage from landslides and flooding across southwestern British Columbia last year is back to four lanes after temporary repairs at three bridge sites.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says the reopening of lanes on the Coquihalla Highway is “another momentous achievement” in the rebuilding process after atmospheric rivers caused flooding and slides that inundated farmland and damaged highways.

Fleming says in a statement the reopening increases safety and reduces congestion, which is “great news for people, industry and the provincial economy.”

The province says work to complete permanent repairs will continue into late 2023.

In addition to rebuilding washed-out lanes and bridges, the work has also involved replacing culverts, roadside barriers and spillways.

The Coquihalla had been closed to all regular traffic between Nov. 14, 2021, and Jan. 19, 2022, after flooding and washouts damaged more than 20 sites along 130 kilometres of the highway between Hope and Merritt.

It had reopened to commercial traffic about a month earlier after several hundred workers moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of gravel, rock and other material.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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