Permanent repairs to the Othello section of the Coquihalla Highway 5 will begin soon, helping rebuild the highway to a more resilient standard following significant damage from November’s storms.
“This marks another milestone in our recovery from the atmospheric river events that severely damaged our highway infrastructure last fall,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and 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.”
A $4.6-million contract for this section of the Coquihalla, about three kilometres north of the junction of highways 3 and 5, has been awarded to Emil Anderson and the Chawathil First Nation.
Construction is expected to start in early August and be complete this fall. Crews will reinstate approximately 460 metres of the southbound lanes that were washed out, as well as:
- replacing and upsizing culverts to accommodate future extreme weather events related to climate change;
- shoulder widening and barrier placement; and
- reinstating the roadside barrier and spillways.
“We are proud to be a part of this project with Emil Anderson,” said Chief Rhoda Peters of the Chawathil First Nation. “To participate in work that is developed within our traditional territory shows we are moving ahead with business for Chawathil. 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. We are grateful for all the hard work put forth by our economic development co-ordinator, Monica Florence, as she put in a lot of work and effort to help us track this milestone. Siam'lomet.”
All efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions during peak travel hours. However, delays are expected throughout construction on all highway-reinstatement projects, including possible periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures. For updates, travellers are encouraged to check: DriveBC.ca
“Having recently completed the flood-response work on this portion of Highway 5, Emil Anderson Construction is honoured to be selected to complete the final recovery work to restore four lanes of traffic on this section of Highway 5,” said Robert Hasell, president and CEO, Emil Anderson Construction. “This project is a great example of the Province, industry and local First Nations working together collaboratively to drive critical infrastructure projects.”
- Highway 5 was closed to regular vehicle traffic on Nov. 14, 2021, due to damage caused by an atmospheric river that brought heavy rain.
- Flooding and washouts associated with the November 2021 rain damaged more than 20 sites along 130 kilometres of the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt.
- This included seven bridges where spans collapsed or were otherwise heavily damaged.
- More than 300 workers, using 200 pieces of equipment, moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of gravel, rock and other material to repair and reopen Highway 5 to commercial vehicle traffic in 35 days on Dec. 20, 2021, and to all traffic on Jan. 19, 2022.
For updated highway information, visit: DriveBC.ca
For more information about the highway flood-recovery projects: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation-projects/bc-highway-flood-recovery