Permanent repairs to the Othello section of the Coquihalla Highway 5 will begin soon, making the route more resilient than it was before last November’s storms.
Work by Emil Anderson and Chawathil First Nation is expected to start in early August and be complete this fall.
The section is located about three kilometres north of the junction of highways 3 and 5.
Crews will restore approximately 460 metres of the southbound lanes that were washed out, along with the roadside barriers and spillways. They’ll be widening shoulders and placing barriers and replacing/upsizing culverts to more effectively cope with future extreme weather events.
“This marks another milestone in our recovery from the atmospheric river events that severely damaged our highway infrastructure last fall,” said Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’re working quickly to build permanent infrastructure back at a better, more climate-resilient standard that will protect the movement of people and goods through our province.”
Emil Anderson and Chawathil First Nation have a $4.6 million contract for the job.
“To participate in work that is developed within our traditional territory shows we are moving ahead with business for Chawathil,” said Chief Rhoda Peters of the Chawathil First Nation. “So many highways, railways, pipelines and hydro lines cut through our lands without agreements with our leaders. Today, our Nation is able to sit at the table and work together as the future unfolds at a fast pace before us.”
As work proceeds, motorists are warned to expect delays, including possible periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures. Travellers can check DriveBC.ca for updates.
“This project is a great example of the Province, industry and local First Nations working together collaboratively to drive critical infrastructure projects,” added Robert Hasell, president and CEO, Emil Anderson Construction.
Highway 5 was closed to regular vehicle traffic Nov. 14, 2021, due to damage caused by an atmospheric river that brought heavy rain. Flooding and washouts damaged more than 20 sites along 130 kilometres of the route between Hope and Merritt, including seven bridges where spans collapsed or were otherwise heavily damaged.
More than 300 workers, using 200 pieces of equipment, moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of gravel, rock and other material to repair and reopen Highway 5 to commercial vehicle traffic on Dec. 20, 2021, and to all traffic on Jan. 19, 2022.