Engineering work is underway to build a bridge structure to replace the culvert at Commotion Creek on Highway 97, announced MLA for Peace River South Mike Bernier, on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.
“The site at Commotion Creek was the most heavily damaged by last year’s flooding, resulting in a massive hole in Highway 97 and the surrounding area,” said Bernier. “Design for a permanent solution to this location will help to minimize damage from any future flooding, increase safety and enhance the reliability of the road.”
Commotion Creek, located approximately 20 kilometres south of Chetwynd, was inundated with water from the 2016 flooding within the Peace River Valley. The existing culverts under Highway 97 were overwhelmed when they were partially blocked by debris from the heavy floodwaters. Portions of Highway 97 and the CN Rail crossing downstream of Commotion Creek were destroyed when the water flooded the banks of the creek, causing road and rail closures for several days.
Engineering assessments have been ongoing and the ministry now has concluded that a bridge, capable of accommodating water flow levels similar to those last year, is the appropriate permanent solution at Commotion Creek. This will mitigate the need for road closures at this site for future, similar flood events, increasing safety and ensuring this is a reliable route for residents, commercial traffic and tourists.
Design work on the new bridge is underway and will be ongoing over the next few months.
On June 15 and 16, 2016, a massive storm surge passed through the Peace District resulting in over 120 millimetres of rain in a 72-hour period. This, combined with heavy snow run-off at higher elevations, caused extensive damage to roads and highways in the region.
Ministry crews and contractors have been working since then to repair roads and open up highways in the area. All roads in the area are open to traffic, with permanent repairs to several sites ongoing. In total, the Province has already invested $27 million in repairs.
As part of over $80 million announced for emergency preparedness investments on March 15, the Province is investing over $60 million provincewide in flood protection. This includes $300,000 in funding for flood risk assessment, floodplain mapping and flood mitigation planning, with $150,000 each going to the communities of Chetwynd and Dawson Creek.
In addition, as part of $2.13 million provided to the Fraser Basin Council, $1 million will benefit the region through the development of an inventory and engineering assessment of all orphan or unmanaged dikes in British Columbia. This assessment will evaluate the structural conditions of the dikes and determine the cost to upgrade the dikes to provincial standard and to acquire at-risk properties. The goal of this project is to assess the risks to local communities and to help facilitate the transfer of diking authority to local governments.