Update 2:45 p.m.
The BC transportation ministry has announced that work on repairing Highway 33 has progressed a little more quickly than expected.
As a result, the highway was to open at 4 p.m. today.
Original: 6:00 a.m.
Highway 33 is expected to re-open to traffic Friday at about 7 p.m.
Steve Sirett, district highways manager for the Okanagan-Shuswap region, said road repair crews and equipment have been working 24/7 since Tuesday morning to restore the highway infrastructure washed away by hillside flooding.
He said both lanes of traffic will resume but a portion of the road will be gravel surface for now.
“We have a good bench in place now under the road. We have used larger and small rock along with fill to replace what was swept away and added a second culvert to help with the water runoff,” Stirett said.
“The ground is extremely saturated and groundwater flow issues were a big contributor to the ground washing away underneath the highway.”
Sirett said three excavators have been working on-site along with six dump trucks continously hauling replacement rock and fill while local traffic was diverted via Goudie Road and Cardinal Creek Road.
Heavy commercial transport traffic was allowed to use the detour initially but Sirett said that decision changed when it became evident the rural road connection wasn’t suited for big trucks.
“The road didn’t function well for large commercial vehicles. We realize that closing it off created longer detour issues and affected the bottom line for trucking companies, so we’ve been working to get the road opened as soon as possible,” he said.
Within the region, he said another smaller washout occurred on Highway 3 near Yellow Lake, but no other imminent issues of concern exist for Highway 33 at the moment.
“There is a lot of water coming down the hillsides this time of year so it’s not uncommon for this kind of thing to happen. Unfortunately we are getting used to seeing it more often,” he said.
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