Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland expected to open today

The main transit corridor between Penticton and Kelowna closed after a rockslide

Life for people who need to travel to and from the South Okanagan should return to normal today.

Highway 97 north of Summerland was closed from Saturday until late Tuesday, but officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they were hoping to have the road open to traffic by Wednesday afternoon.

Reopening is dependant on the progress made in the effort to remove debris from the rockslide.

“Now that the hill is more accessible, we have been able to increase the number of rock scalers from seven to 10,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Transportation. “Scalers moved further north on the slope this morning to prepare for further blasting, and we now have two excavators and a rock hammer on site to keep building the access up the slope. Our maintenance contractor, Argo, has mobilized large off-highway rock trucks to remove as much material as soon as possible after blasting.”

READ MORE: Okanagan commuters schedules halted after rock slide

Once the debris is removed, crews will reassess the slope to determine what other steps need to be taken.

Any positive change will come to a relief to Megan Potter, an organizer for the Okanagan College Student Union at the Penticton campus. She travelled to Kelowna last week and was marooned.

“I am stuck here today,” said Potter, Monday. “We are monitoring events and postponing activities (on campus) and I am trying to make it known to students and staff that I am here to answer any questions and concerns that they have.”

Potter says that for some classes midterm exams have already started and that some classes have gone digital to stay on track.

It was a similarly tough situation for people who reliant on the route for work.

READ MORE: Penticton Search and Rescue rescues two drivers trying to bypass rockslide closure

“We are not making any of our appointments at this time, because all of our freight comes from Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton. They are on schedule, but we can’t maintain our schedule,” said Les, a dispatcher at Van-Kam Freightways Ltd, who noted the alternate routes added several hours to their day, not to mention increased fuel costs.

While most were barred from the route, emergency services still were able to make their way through.

“BC Emergency Health Services response to patients has not been adversely impacted by the road closure on Hwy 97 near Summerland,” said Shannon Miller, communications officer with BC Emergency Health Services.

“Paramedics responding to patients and patients needing transport to hospital are being guided through the road closure area.”

BCEHS dispatch centres work closely with provincial road crews to coordinate our safe response to patients.

“Whatever the road conditions, protecting the safety of our patients, the public and our employees is paramount,” she said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Police swarm residence near UBC Okanagan, arrest 3 men

Five RCMP cars were seen outside 755 Academy Way Wednesday evening.

Road closures anticipated for 9th annual Kelowna Vaisakhi Parade

The annual event highlighting the Sikh community will be held April 27

Snow falling at Big White near season’s end

Big White is open until April 22

Easter dinner at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Clients of the Gospel Mission are in for an Easter feast.

Okanagan start-up asks Ottawa to protect kids online

Mazu’s online petition to protect children while online is over halfway to it’s goal of 500 signatures

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Give Canada geese at Okanagan beaches a break

LETTER: Tour busses, full of photographers, local goose guides and an annual goose festival

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

B.C. RCMP arrest foreign national in connection to airport thefts

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read