• Wednesday , 29 June 2022

Permanent repairs coming for flood-damaged sections of Coquihalla Highway

Repair work being performed on the Bottletop Bridge on Hwy 5, Coquihalla following November’s extreme flooding. Photo MOTI.

Morgan Hampton

Following extreme flooding and washouts in Nov. 2021, the Coquihalla Hwy, the main thoroughfare connecting the Lower Mainland to the Interior, was closed due to heavy damage in more than twenty locations.

Initially closed on Nov. 14, 2021, the highway reopened to commercial traffic more than a month later on Dec. 20, 2021 and to all traffic on Jan. 19, 2022. 

However, much of the repairs were temporary solutions and involved reduced speeds, single lane alternating traffic, changed road patterns and other ongoing disruptions. 

Now, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has announced it is moving forward on permanent repairs to the Coquihalla. 

“Our crews worked hard to get the Coquihalla reopened after the severe flooding event and were able to do so in short order about a month after the storm,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. 

“The pace of reconstruction to get the Coquihalla back open to traffic was impressive and beyond anything we could have imagined. We are excited to move forward on the permanent reconstruction of this key route. We will be making our infrastructure more resilient to climate change and future weather events so it remains reliable, safe and efficient for people and as our key goods movement corridor for now and for years to come.”

MOTI has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select contractors who qualified through the Highway Reinstatement Program request for qualifications (RFQ) process, inviting these companies to take part in the competitive selection process to design and construct permanent repairs needed at three sites:

– Bottletop Bridge, 50 kms south of Merritt;

– Juliet Bridges, three kms south of Bottletop;

– Jessica Bridges, 48 kms south of Juliet. 

By permanently repairing these sections of the highway, the Coquihalla will once again be at full four-lane capacity. 

In the coming months, MOTI will also proceed with the repair of the Othello washout area ten kilometres east of Hope. 

All efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions during peak travel and to complete work overnight where possible. Traffic delays are expected throughout construction, including periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures. Advance notice of any traffic disruptions will be provided. Updates will be available online at DriveBC.ca and on Twitter at @DriveBC.

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