It will take weeks to repair multiple road and highway washouts caused by a once-in-40-years rainstorm in northeast B.C.
The transportation ministry says torrential rainfall has closed or washed out Highway 97 in 16 places between Chetwynd and the Mackenzie junction, north of Prince George. A total of 40 roads from Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John have also been closed due to flood damage, with 58 sites identified so far in need of reconstructive work.
Roughly 130 mm of rain fell on the region going into the weekend. At one point the flood waters from area creeks were running down Highway 97 through the Chetwynd business district, shutting the town down along with the highway.
Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom, MLA for Peace River South, toured the region by air Monday with ministry staff to assess the situation.
“The damage caused by this severe rain event is extensive, and I thank all ministry staff and maintenance contractor personnel who worked day and night over the weekend to ensure the safety of the public,” Lekstrom said. “We’ve mobilized engineers, equipment and construction experts from throughout the region and beyond, and we’ll begin to rebuild these roads as quickly as possible.”
Among the roads closed are Highway 29 between Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope and Dawson Creek’s dangerous goods route.
For updated road closure information on Peace Region flooding and damage repairs, see here.
Motorists can also check DriveBC for highway closures and travel advisories.