Traffic on Highway 1 east of Chilliwack is moving again – slowly.
Nearly 36 hours after a mudslide closed the highway in both directions, single lanes are open both east and westbound while crews continue to clear debris. Motorists can still expect delays from congestion.
Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope was closed in both directions all day Thursday because of overnight mudslides that covered some areas in debris five metres deep.
RCMP say no one was injured in the slides. The largest occurred near Herrling Island at around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday and covers both eastbound and westbound lanes.
Twenty-five pieces of heavy equipment – six excavators, eight tandem dump trucks, three large rock trucks, two water trucks, one bulldozer, three front-end loaders, one hydrovac and one sweeper – are on site to assist with the cleanup to remove mud, trees, rocks and debris that covered both lanes of the highway.
Approximately 17,000 cubic metres of material covered both the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Geotechnical engineers were called in to assess the stability of the slope above the highway and completed their review on Thursday, allowing crews with heavy equipment to begin clearing away a large amount of debris.
A detour remains in effect via highways 9 and 7, but travellers were reporting significant delays.
The slides occurred after recent heavy snowfall and drenching rain, followed by unseasonable warmth, swelling area waterways.
The River Forecast Centre is maintaining high stream-flow advisories for much of the southern B.C. coast, including the Chilliwack and Coquihalla rivers and their tributaries in the Fraser Valley.
Police ask that motorists avoid the area and consult DriveBC for updates on this highway closure. www.DriveBC.ca 1-800-550-4997.
More to come….