Rock slide closes Highway 3

Highway 3 is closed indefinitely between Keremeos and Hedley after a rockslide covered four lanes of the road with debris

  • Jan. 27, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Argo Maintenance workers check out damage caused by Monday afternoon's rock slide on Highway 3 approximately 18 kilometres west of Keremeos.



Highway 3 was closed indefinitely after a rockslide covered four lanes of the road with debris around noon Monday, January 27.

Police, Argo Road Maintenance, Fortis and Telus officials attended the scene, located about one kilometre west of the Crossings youth addiction treatment facility, nine kilometres west of Keremeos.

Boulders the size of pickup trucks presently cover four lanes of Highway 3. Several large boulders also crossed the highway into the river, damaging high voltage power lines on both sides of the highway.

RCMP on scene said the highway will remain closed until a geotechnical inspection of the mountain slope above the road is completed.

Falling rock continued to raise dust plumes several thousand feet above the highway, as rock movement continues to make the are extremely dangerous.

Two of three vehicles caught in the slide remain on scene, as police cordon off several hundred metres of roadway on either side of the slide, which is itself approximately 150 metres wide.

One woman is reported to have been taken to hospital with non life threatening injuries after driving her car through the slide as it was coming down.

Police request the motoring public  to use an alternate route.   For all updates please visit the Drive BC website at www.drivebc.com

Several Upper Similkameen residents working in Keremeos  – as well as Lower Similkameen residents working in Princeton – said they would detour up Nickle Plate Road to Apex and Green Mountain Road in order to return to their homes while the road remains closed.

A rockfall on June 24, 2013, which occurred about two kilometres east of Monday’s slide, brought down power lines and caused a grass fire, in addition to littering the highway with boulders.

Weather in the SImilkameen on Monday saw temperatures around the freezing mark, with low cloud and light winds.

Residents of the Similkameen were also without power for up to an hour Monday, afternoon after the  slide damaged power lines between Hedley and Keremeos.

Student seating had to be hastily rearranged at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School after the senior gym was plunged into darkness on the first day of exam week.

Principal Kate Turner said students were moved into classrooms to complete their exams before power was restored about 20 minutes later.

Downtown businesses in Keremeos had to temporarily close their doors, without access to debit or credit card services. The power outage was apparently  widespread, as reports of power out was received from as far west as Princeton, north to Apex and east to Oliver.

 

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