Hwy 97 rockslide fix still far from done, though road closures should be less frequent

Rockslide fix far from done

Sarah Crookall

Eight months after a rockslide tumbled across Highway 97 near Summerland, crews have made progress, but there is still a lot of work on the horizon.

“Crews have been working hard for the winter in some not-so-fun conditions, made some really good progress,” said Steve Sirett, executive director of the Ministry of Transportation’s Southern Interior Highways and Regional Services.

"[Crews] have removed a total of [about] 43,000 cubic metres of material from this slide mass, and right now we're still estimating to get to that 60,000 cubic metre mark.”

Highway 97 north of Summerland has been reduced to two lanes for many months, following a substantial landslide that occurred in late August last year.

Regular blasting has been ongoing for several months in order to stabilize the site.

In February, Sirett said crews had cleared roughly 35,500 cubic metres of rock and overburden.

Now, drivers can expect a few more lengthy closures in May which will be well advertised in advance, with some changes coming for the summer season.

“The good news is after those are done through May, we expect through the summer months, that will shift to work that largely won't require the same amount of closure. …Perhaps 20 minute delays, but closures will be far less frequent, perhaps one or two, which will be good news for the summer,” Sirett added.

Work will likely continue into the fall for drilling stabilization anchors and building retaining walls in order to get back to four lanes. Work is coming to the tail end of the rock removal.

“But this is a slide and things can change quickly. So motorists are always encouraged if you're going to go through there, check DriveBC beforehand and keep that up to date on what potential impacts there may be to traffic travel.”

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