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Crews continue road work on Highway 97 in Summerland

Blasting required to bring down material in slide area
Around 4,000 cubic metres of material must be removed from a slope at the bottom of Summerland Hill. The area experienced slides in April and May. At present, crews are constructing a retaining wall in the area. (Summerland Review file photo)

Crews are continuing to bring down unstable material near the site of the recent landslides in Summerland.

On the evening of May 15, a landslide on Highway 97 at the bottom of Summerland Hill blocked traffic as debris covered a 40-metre section of the highway, shutting down traffic in both directions.

READ ALSO: Highway 97 in Summerland slide will need retaining wall built

READ ALSO: Highway 97 slide in Summerland under geotechnical review

The slide followed earlier slides around the same area in late April, although those were cleared quickly.

A retaining wall is now being constructed in the slide area.

Geotechnical assessments showed around 4,000 cubic metres of material on the slope above the highway had to be brought down safely, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.

The ministry has been gradually bringing down the materials, using a combination of an air bag technique and rock scaling.

The air bag technique involves lowering air bags into tension cracks and inflating them to expand the cracks and dislodge materials.

Larger materials on the slope face will require blasting.

The highway will be closed on Thursday, June 22, from 1 to 2 p.m. for an initial blast.

The highway will then be open to single-lane alternating traffic until further notice, with intermittent closures during scaling and drilling of blast holes.

Ministry crews are working to restore two-way traffic by the end of next week.

The ministry estimates the work will be completed by mid-July.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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