First commercial trucks pass through new Highway 3 route to the B.C. Interior

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Damage to Highway 8 near Spences Bridge following the November flood event in B.C. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation

The B.C. government transportation ministry said roughly 200 commercial trucks have traveled through Highway 3, which was reopened to limited commercial vehicle travel on Nov. 19. No specific number of trucks was provided.

The news came at a Nov. 20 B.C. government update on the flooding events.

At the Nov. 20 update, transportation minister, Rob Fleming, said the new route, which links Highway 7 and Highway 3 to bypass flooding in the Fraser Valley, “performed well” during the first day.

Trucks made it through the route in about 10 hours, double the normal 5-6 hours. The route is constrained by single-lane-alternating traffic at several points.

“The work is not done on the highway but it is functioning,” Fleming said, saying it is “vital” to keep the route open.

Highway 99 is now open to essential travel, and is subject to travel orders and weight restrictions. The route is restricted to small vehicles with lower weight. The maximum vehicle size is said to be a small cube truck.

Transportation officials stressed the route is limited to essential travel.

Search crews recovered the bodies of three victims of mudslides in the Duffy Lake area in the past three days, bringing the death toll to four. Another person is missing but the search has been suspended due to adverse conditions.

On Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley, crews are working to restore a section between Chilliwack and Bridal Falls and are hopeful it can be re-opened this evening. However, the section through the Abbotsford area remains closed due to flooding for the time being.

Rail service update

Rail service was briefly touched on during the press conference. Minister Fleming said staff are working with railway companies CN and CP, who were hoping to resume service “sometime next week.” There were few further specifics in the update.

Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 update

Will the November flooding that damaged so many highways in B.C. affect the timeline of the ongoing Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 construction project if highway construction resources currently deployed there are needed more urgently elsewhere?

Following the floods, we reached out the B.C. Ministry of Transportation to find out if the flooding affected the project. The Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 project is upgrading 4.8 kilometres of challenging highways and is expected to be substantially complete in winter 2023-24.

In a response, a transportation ministry spokesperson said, “The Kicking Horse Canyon Project Phase 4 site was not directly impacted by the flooding event. The area did experience high rates of precipitation, but this fell primarily as snow and more to the south of the project site.

“There were some minor weather-related delays onsite, but nothing that will impact the overall schedule and completion date.”

On the question of whether the need for highway construction resources elsewhere could impact the completion of the project, the transportation ministry said they are still assessing the situation. “At this time, the project team is communicating with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and is available to discuss options should resources be requested.”

Aaron Orlando is the Creative Director of revelstokemountaineer.com and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's worked in Revelstoke as a journalist and editor for the past 12 years. If you have news tips on Revelstoke news, events, outdoor life, and more, contact Aaron at aaron@revelstokemountaineer.com or call/text him at 250-814-8710.