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Engineers assess rock slide area following yesterday's closure on Highway 3

Area of a rock slide on Highway 3 in October 2014.
Image Credit: Google Maps Street View
November 18, 2015 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - Traffic is moving along the entirety of Highway 3 from the Okanagan-Similkameen to Hope this afternoon following dual road closures yesterday.

Today, Nov. 18, geotechnical engineers completed an assessment of the rock slide that closed the highway nine kilometres west of Keremeos late yesterday afternoon, public affairs officer Sonia Lowe says. The road reopened to single lane alternating traffic at approximately 8:30 p.m. yesterday, and to two-way traffic today just before noon today.

Lowe says the highway was closed as a precautionary measure, adding geotechnical engineers also assessed recent improvements along the slide area to ensure the ministry is doing all it can to prevent serious impacts from rock fall.

Yesterday’s rock fall was estimated at less than five square metres, most of which fell into the ditch. A small quantity spilled into the westbound lane.

Lowe says the majority of the rock fall was contained within a newly constructed three metre high retaining wall, built in late 2014.

Last October further work was completed on a second phase of the project which involved ditch excavation to create a wider catchment for better rock fall containment.

The rockfall occurred in an area where several rock slides have taken place over the past two years, including a major rock fall in late January 2014. That slide resulted in rocks the size of pickup trucks landing on the highway. Two vehicles were badly damaged, the occupants fortunately escaping without serious injuries. Highway 3 was shut down for four days as a result.

Several more temporary shutdowns have since taken place at the same site.

Downed power lines caused a second road closure in the Skagit Bluffs area, around 6 p.m. yesterday evening. That section of highway has also since reopened to traffic.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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