Could be at Least a Week Before Pine Pass has Single Lane Open
Prince George, B.C. – Highway crews and maintenance contractors are already on the job trying to make repairs in the wake of this week’s flooding throughout the Peace region, but the Ministry of Transportation says it will take a number of days before all roads will be fully open.
Highway 97 remains closed through the Pine Pass. Two adults and an eleven week old baby, were stranded in a vehicle on Highway 97 when the road gave way at Commotion Creek. There were concerns for the baby’s nutritional needs as the infant needed goat’s milk. The family was helicoptered to Chetwynd where other family members met them and took them home.
There are five seriously damaged sites along 97 through the Pine Pass. Damage is still being assessed. “We are hopeful of being in at least a single lane ( alternating traffic) within the next week” says Maria Botts, District Manager for the Ministry of Transportation in the Peace region. Travel through Alberta is encouraged.
Highway 29, remains closed in both directions 13 km south of Junction with Highway 97 North in Chetwynd because of a wash out. DriveBC advises travellers to avoid the area, and use the detour that will take motorists through Alberta.
In the community of Chetwynd, Nicholson Road has been “lost”, and there are issues with the sewer lines. “It’s not good ” says Leo Sabulsky the Emergency Coordinator for Chetwynd, who says the pumps have pushed a great deal of gravel and sand in the system. “We’ve been hit really hard” they have put in requests for extra pumps. The water remains good, as those pumps were shut down when the levels started to rise.
MLA Mike Bernier who represents the Peace River South riding says , “I can honestly say this is probably the worst flood I have ever seen in this area.” He praised the community for “stepping up to help their neighbours”.
Bernier says the community of Dawson Creek was basically divided in half , because of washouts. “Now the water is starting to go down and we have started to assess some of the damage in the area and it is extensive.” He says engineers have been examining roads and bridges in the Dawson Creek area, and “Where roads and bridges can be opened, they are being opened.”
Still, there are hundreds of people who are cut off, because their access roads are washed out. The Ministry of Transportation says those people will remain “stranded” until repairs can be made.
Over the course of the storm, Dawson Creek received 89.8 mm of rain on June 15th, the highest amount of rainfall in one day ever in the history of weather records for that community. Over the course of the storm, Chetwynd received 133 mm of rain , and Dawson Creek received a total of 105mm.
David Campbell from the River Forecast Centre, the rivers in the South Peace have reached their peaks, and are showing signs of receding.