Photo: BC Gov Flickr
BC Hwy 3 near Skagit 2 Bridge
The worst of BC’s coastal weather is behind us this week, and although snow may fall at low altitudes over the weekend, the colder weather may actually help restore flooding.
During Friday’s press conference, Transport Minister Rob Fleming said more seasonal cold weather is expected in the coming weeks and that there are no longer any flood guards or warnings in force in the province. The change in weather comes after the coast has been hit by three weeks of heavy rain, which has caused extensive floods and landslides in the southwestern part of the province.
“With the extreme weather now past us, we continue to see more stability on our motorway network,” Fleming said, adding that Thursday’s reopening of Highway 1 from Abbotsford to Hope has been successful.
Meanwhile, Highway 99 north of Pemberton will remain closed until Friday after a landslide closed the road Wednesday night. A roller coaster has also recently closed Highway 12 between Lytton and Lillooet, but that highway is expected to reopen later Friday.
Highway 3 east of Hope is only open for significant travel, and floods that had previously closed the road east of Princeton have subsided.
With wet snow expected to fall over the lower mainland and inland over the weekend, this may actually help with recovery and rebuilding in some areas.
“These cooler temperatures help reduce the influx to some of the already affected river systems, and we’ll see that the cooler temperatures reduce the melting of snowpack in between to high altitudes,” said Andrew Giles of the River Forecast Center.
“The persistent freezing temperatures in the interior of BC will help reduce the water level on Fraser, which will help drain the water faster from the Sumas area.”
Environment Canada’s Armel Castellen says two separate snow events are expected to hit the southern part of the province, with the first coming Friday night and the second Monday morning. Up to 15 cm of snow is expected in the Coquihalla and Allison Pass areas until Saturday morning.
Fleming said once again that he still has no estimate of what the reconstruction of Coquihalla, Fraser Canyon and Highway 8 will cost, but said “it is fair to say that it will be very significantly expensive.”
“We’re in the planning phase in terms of what it might look like, as well as in terms of temporary access,” Fleming said. “We want more updates and a better idea of the cost as we make more of the technical assessments of what the full recovery looks like.”
The BC government’s qualification request in the BC Highway Reinstatement Program states that some projects will be between $ 20- $ 50 million, while others will be over $ 50 million.
Fleming said he has been in talks with the federal government about accessing financial disaster relief to rebuild highways so they are more resistant to severe weather, due to the “age of extreme weather events we are now in. “
Transport Minister Rob Fleming and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham are holding a press conference to update residents on floods and mudslides throughout BC