Work to repair a damaged section of the Coquihalla Highway that was destroyed by last November's storms will begin soon.
Houses and roads in Othello, just outside Hope, were washed away and destroyed during the floods. The storms left many people homeless and erased important infrastructure.
Permanent repairs to the Othello section of Highway 5 are expected to start in early August, the B.C. government announced Thursday.
The $4.6-million contract has been awarded to Emil Anderson and Chawathil First Nation.
In a statement, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said the announcement marks a “milestone” in the province’s recovery from the atmospheric river events that severely damaged B.C.’s highway infrastructure.
“We’re working quickly to build permanent infrastructure back at a better, more climate-resilient standard that will protect the movement of people and goods through our province. I am pleased that this contract is a joint venture that includes the Chawathil First Nation,” he says.
Crews will focus on reinstating about 460 metres of southbound lanes that were washed out. During the storms, 20 properties were damaged and seven bridges collapsed.
Work will also include replacing and upsizing culverts to accommodate future extreme weather events related to climate change, shoulder widening and barrier placement along with reinstating the roadside barrier and spillways.
Chief Rhoda Peters of the Chawathil First Nation says they are proud to be part of the project.
“To participate in work that is developed within our traditional territory shows we are moving ahead with business for Chawathil,” says Peters. "So many highways, railways, pipelines and hydro lines cut through our lands without agreements with our leaders. Today, our nation is able to sit at the table and work together as the future unfolds at a fast pace before us."
Repairs will take place three kilometres north of the Highway 3 and Highway 5 junction. They're expected to be completed in the fall.
Travellers should expect some delays throughout construction; however, efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions during peak travel hours.