Detours around Okanagan rock slide long but safe - InfoNews

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Detours around Okanagan rock slide long but safe

Crews continue to work Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 to clear a rock slide that has closed Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland.
Image Credit: TWITTER/@TranBC_OKS
February 04, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KELOWNA - If you're looking for a quick route between Kelowna and Penticton, you might be out of luck, no matter what Google Maps tells you.

Crews are currently working to clear up a rock slide that hit Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland. The section has been closed to traffic, blocking the direct route from Kelowna to Penticton.

According to a social media post by local MLA Dan Ashton, crews have identified a blast line and are working to ensure stability and clear debris before allowing traffic back on the road possibly tomorrow, Feb. 5.

The rock blockage is a big problem for drivers as it shuts down the main route between Kelowna and Penticton.

Some drivers turned to Google Maps for directions, which points to Garnet Valley Road. Unfortunately, unless you have a vehicle built for the absolute worst road conditions, this dirt road shortcut isn't advisable. The combination of dirt and unplowed snow makes Garnet Valley Road a treacherous path. The RCMP reported they had to rescue a pickup truck stuck in Garnet Valley Road, among other vehicles.

The backroads near Summerland may be tempting alternatives for some drivers, but Penticton Search and Rescue is asking people to resist the allure. In a press release they've had to save two stranded drivers who tried to make their way through the backroads.

If you want to get from Kelowna to Penticton, or vice versa, you have two options, although neither is speedy. You can stick to the well-traveled roads by traveling down Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3, which will take you from Kelowna to Penticton in roughly three hours.

For the more adventurous and less patient types, Drive B.C. points to a detour on the east of Okanagan Lake. From Kelowna it starts on McCulloch Road from Highway 33 before leading into 201 Forest Service Road, which is being maintained while the rock slide on Highway 97 is cleaned up. The detour should take well over an hour to travel.

Further updates on highway conditions and detours can be found at the Drive B.C. website here.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Drive B.C.

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