Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland expected to open today

The main transit corridor between Penticton and Kelowna closed after a rockslide

Life for people who need to travel to and from the South Okanagan should return to normal today.

Highway 97 north of Summerland was closed from Saturday until late Tuesday, but officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they were hoping to have the road open to traffic by Wednesday afternoon.

Reopening is dependant on the progress made in the effort to remove debris from the rockslide.

“Now that the hill is more accessible, we have been able to increase the number of rock scalers from seven to 10,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Transportation. “Scalers moved further north on the slope this morning to prepare for further blasting, and we now have two excavators and a rock hammer on site to keep building the access up the slope. Our maintenance contractor, Argo, has mobilized large off-highway rock trucks to remove as much material as soon as possible after blasting.”

READ MORE: Okanagan commuters schedules halted after rock slide

Once the debris is removed, crews will reassess the slope to determine what other steps need to be taken.

Any positive change will come to a relief to Megan Potter, an organizer for the Okanagan College Student Union at the Penticton campus. She travelled to Kelowna last week and was marooned.

“I am stuck here today,” said Potter, Monday. “We are monitoring events and postponing activities (on campus) and I am trying to make it known to students and staff that I am here to answer any questions and concerns that they have.”

Potter says that for some classes midterm exams have already started and that some classes have gone digital to stay on track.

It was a similarly tough situation for people who reliant on the route for work.

READ MORE: Penticton Search and Rescue rescues two drivers trying to bypass rockslide closure

“We are not making any of our appointments at this time, because all of our freight comes from Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton. They are on schedule, but we can’t maintain our schedule,” said Les, a dispatcher at Van-Kam Freightways Ltd, who noted the alternate routes added several hours to their day, not to mention increased fuel costs.

While most were barred from the route, emergency services still were able to make their way through.

“BC Emergency Health Services response to patients has not been adversely impacted by the road closure on Hwy 97 near Summerland,” said Shannon Miller, communications officer with BC Emergency Health Services.

“Paramedics responding to patients and patients needing transport to hospital are being guided through the road closure area.”

BCEHS dispatch centres work closely with provincial road crews to coordinate our safe response to patients.

“Whatever the road conditions, protecting the safety of our patients, the public and our employees is paramount,” she said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man sentenced for stealing pricey ring from Salmon Arm pawn shop

Accused vows to change criminal history through beating addictions

Anxiety, depression among student priorities for Sicamous school wellness centre

Initiative provides comfortable space to care for students at Eagle River Secondary

Shuswap woman creates stress-reducing cuffs for Alzheimer’s patients

Personal connection to disease adds meaning to endeavour

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Askew Tennis Centre draws 14 teams for mixed doubles tourney

Event at new facility hosted competitors from throughout Okanagan

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

Most Read