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UPDATE: Highway 3 open to two-way traffic

Traffic is still blocked in both directions on Highway 3 according to DriveBC. A rock slide came down the slope and covered the road on Monday.
Image Credit: Contributed
January 29, 2014 - 2:20 PM

UPDATE: Highway 3 is now open to two-way traffic with one lane in each direction according to Drive B.C.

Engineers were able to take to the air and perform an aerial assessment of the area and determined there are no concerns with the ministry's plan to build a rock berm for added protection. The berm's intent is to prevent any rock fall reaching the road lanes.

A ministry spokesperson said this is a busy highway connecting the southern interior to the lower mainland and Alberta and sees 2,300 vehicles using it per day.

He also said any damaged telephone poles and power lines will be addressed by the utility companies.

A speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour is in effect in the rock slide area.

UPDATE: Highway 3 might reopen tonight according to a Ministry of Transportation spokesperson.

The spokesperson said work crews are attempting to build a rock berm along the westbound lanes to act as a means of added protection. An aerial assessment was planned for earlier today but it has been delayed due to poor weather and poor visibility.

The highway remains closed in both directions while final assessments are made and the protective works are constructed.

Traffic is still being advised to use Highway 5A as an alternate in Princeton and use Highway 97/97c alternate from Osoyoos and Kaleden Intersection south of Penticton.

UPDATE: Highway 3 will remain closed overnight.

The Ministry of Transportation was unable to conduct an aerial assessment of the rock slide area this afternoon due to low cloud cover.

The new plan is to perform the assessment tomorrow morning an official said.

UPDATE: A second rock slide and safety concerns are the reasons the Ministry of Transportation is keeping Highway 3 closed in both directions following Monday's rock fall.

Ministry spokesperson Robert Adam said there was a second rock fall yesterday at the site and officials want to make sure the area is stable and safe for work crews to continue cleanup. This rock slide was smaller than the first one. The largest piece of rock to fall was one meter in diameter. Monday's rock fall had larger pieces and nearly injured a Penticton woman heading to Vancouver.

A morning aerial assessment was planned but weather conditions pushed the assessment process until this afternoon.

UPDATE: Highway 3 is still closed in both directions nine kilometres west of Keremeos because of Monday's rock slide according to Drive B.C.

Detour is available for eastbound traffic via Highway 5A, Highway 97C and Highway 97. Westbound traffic can use Highway 97, Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3.

Drive B.C. will have another update by noon today.

UPDATE: The Ministry of Highways is reporting an area of Highway 3 closed because of a rockslide between Keremeos and Hedley will reopen today at 4 p.m.

KEREMEOS - A rock slide with some boulders the size of a truck blocked Highway 3 between Keremeos and Hedley and caused one injury today.

South Okanagan RCMP say the slide is about 150 metres wide and happened eight kilometres west of Standing Rock at about 12:25 p.m. The Ministry of Highway and Infrastructure are en route to investigate the slide that included boulders of various sizes, according to witnesses.

Three vehicles were involved in the incident, with one female taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

It's unknown when the highway will open again. Heavy duty machinery will be required to remove debris and boulders.

For updates including alternate routes, visit DriveBC.com.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065, send tweets to @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict.

- This story was updated at 5:25 p.m., Jan. 30, 2013 to include details about the highway being reopened to two-way traffic.

- This story was updated at 11:43 a.m., Jan 30, 2014 to include information about the continued road closure on Highway 3.

This story was updated at 4:47 p.m., Jan. 28 2014 to include information about the overnight road closure.

- This story was updated at 2:08 p.m., Jan 28 2014 to include information on the cleanup work from the Ministry of Transportation.

This story was updated at 10:20 a.m., Jan. 28 2014 to include updated Highway 3 traffic information.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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