As the second anniversary of historic flooding that hit many parts of British Columbia approaches, the province has announced that permanent repairs to the Coquihalla Highway are now complete.
Two years ago, in mid-November, once-in-a-century rainfall caused significant flooding and washouts on Highway 5 between Hope and Merritt, damaging bridges and infrastructure.
On Wednesday, British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming announced that Highway 5 is now “more resilient and reliable” than ever.
The repaired highway includes six new “climate resilient” bridges that replaced those lost in November 2021 and were completed two months ahead of schedule.
The new permanent bridges are located at Bottletop Bridge, 50 kilometers south of Merritt, Jessica Bridge, 20 kilometers north of Hope, and Juliet Bridges, 53 kilometers south of Merritt.
“Climate resilient highways are crucial for British Columbia. The province has improved its infrastructure to deal with more frequent extreme weather events in the future,” Fleming said.
“We honor the efforts of British Columbians who worked to rebuild after the river weather event two years ago.
According to Fleming, bridges are built to withstand high water levels by using deep pile footings and longer spans. Large Rock protection was added to protect the bridges from erosion and scour.
Trees and small vegetation were also planted nearby to encourage the growth of new plants and support the overall restoration of aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
In fashion now
The government said it is also making progress in southwest British Columbia, other areas that have been damaged by historic flooding.
Two of three bridge replacements on Highway 1 are underway in Nicomen and Falls Creek. Construction of the third bridge, at Tank Hill, will begin next year. The government is also working with local First Nations communities to completely rebuild Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge.
On Vancouver Island, repairs to the Tunnel Hill section of the Malahat have been completed.
More than 300 workers moved more than 400,000 cubic meters of gravel, rock and other materials to repair Highway 5.
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