Second highway route reopens between Lower Mainland and Interior of B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Second highway route reopens between Lower Mainland and Interior of B.C.

FILE PHOTO - B.C. transportation minister Rob Fleming
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.

Highway 99 has reopened to traffic at noon today, providing a second connection between the Lower Mainland and the Interior.

The road was closed on Nov. 15, along with several other routes earlier this week, due to a series of landslides.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming made the announcement this morning during a press conference.

He said only smaller vehicles will be allowed to use Highway 99 for now.

“Nothing larger than a cube truck will be allowed,” he said.

Fleming expects the road will experience larges volumes of traffic as small communities “facing pinch points in our supply chain” have been reconnected, and many stranded people need to get back home.

He pleaded with the public to be patient with one another during the congestion.

Highway 3, which reopened yesterday for essential travel, is taking truckers 10 hours to get from Surrey to Keremeos, a trip that normally takes five to six hours.

“When you are permitted to use a corridor like Highway 3 the last thing we want is an accident,” he said.

Nevertheless he said the highway performed well since reopening and reported that “roughly a couple hundred” commercial vehicles have already made the trip.

READ MORE: Crashed semi closes Highway 3 near Grand Forks

There is still a lot of work to get Highway 3 functioning at full capacity, Fleming said but “keeping this corridor open is vital to B.C.”

Crews have been making good progress on Highway 1 east of Chilliwack, he said, adding that it may reopen to limited travel by tonight. Down the road however, Highway 1 is still underwater around Sumas Way in Abbotsford. Engineers can’t evaluate the road until more water recedes.

Earlier in the press conference, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth asked British Columbians to conserve fuel for the next 10 days. He said it’s important to avoid all non-essential travel as well as work from home and ride public transit if possible.

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