Crews remain at the scene of a rock slide on Highway 97 north of Summerland. The highway has been reopened. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Highway 97 now open past Summerland slide area

Cost of slide, road work and detours tops $750,000

Traffic is moving normally along Highway 97 north of Summerland as the road is now open and a detour around a rock slide has been closed.

The highway opened Tuesday around 8 a.m., after a road closure lasting more than a month.

Steve Sirett, district manager of the Okanagan Shuswap District with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the highway is now open, although the southbound lane nearest the rock face remains closed.

“Other than the lane being closed, life will go on as usual,” he said.

A rock slide occurred near Callan Road north of Summerland on Jan. 31 and after further slide movement, the highway was closed at that site on Feb. 2.

Initially, motorists travelling past the slide area had to take a lengthy detour using Highways 3A, 3, 5A, 97C and 97. Later, detours were put in place using forest service roads.

The much shorter Callan Road detour was opened on Feb. 11, resulting in a much more direct route past the slide area.

RELATED: Shorter detour for Highway 97 commuters in the Okanagan

RELATED: Callan Rd. to have intermittent closures on Feb. 16

The speed limit is 90 kilometres an hour in the area where the road had been closed. No stopping is allowed through the slide area.

The Callan Road detour is now closed off and will eventually be decommissioned.

Sirett said crews will continue to monitor the slide area as temperatures warm up.

“It’s been well below zero all of February,” he said, adding that mild weather and rain could result in future slide activity.

RELATED: Bypass in place around Highway 97 rock slide

RELATED: Highway 97 rock slides have occurred in the past

Argo Road Maintenance has been assessing the slope and removing material.

More than 20,000 cubic metres of rock and debris has been removed from the site. This is the equivalent of eight Olympic swimming pools.

The cost of the road closure, clearing work and detours is estimated at more than $750,000 at present. Sirett said the total cost is expected to come to around $1 million.

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