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B.C. Fraser Canyon gaps slowly closing after November washouts

Mid-January target for Highway 1 reopening to some traffic
B.C. construction crew extends an Acrow temporary bridge to close a huge washout gap at Jackass Mountain on Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon. (B.C. transportation ministry photo)

With commercial truck and bus traffic restored on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt and full traffic allowed on Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton, work continues to repair some of the worst washouts on Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon.

B.C.’s transportation ministry is still aiming to have the canyon route from Boston Bar to Spences Bridge reopened to some traffic by mid-January. A temporary bridge is being extended across a major gap at Jackass Mountain, 18 km south of Lytton, to close one of the worst-hit sections from the record rain event in mid-November.

An Acrow bridge, made by a U.S. company for emergency, military and permanent installations, is being put in place to reconnect the highway with at least a single lane. Crews that were working around the clock took a break from Dec. 24 to 27 and resumed work Dec. 28.

Highway 1 is open north of Hope through Yale, Spuzzum and Boston Bar with some single-lane alternating traffic, and closed from Boothroyd to Lytton and Spences Bridge. Other major washout points were at the Nicomen and Spence Road bridges.

A measure of the Fraser Canyon impact was the CN Rail line, which had 58 damage sites from Ashcroft to Yale, the worst at Jackass Mountain. CN diverted some of its Vancouver traffic to Prince Rupert and worked 24 hours a day on repairs, getting the line open again Dec. 4 after moving in the equivalent of 25,000 semi-trailer loads of ballast rock and other materials.

The Coquihalla was reopened Dec. 20 for commercial bus and truck traffic only, taking some of the truck traffic off the Hope-Princeton route and allowing it to resume non-essential traffic after it served as the only highway link from the Lower Mainland to the B.C. Interior for several weeks.

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